Henry David Thoreau

 

ABOUT HENRY

 imgres In D.B. Johnson’s Henry Hikes to Fitchburg (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006), inspired by Walden, Henry and a friend – both bears – prepare to go to Fitchburg, 30 miles away. The friend decides to work and save enough money to take the train; Henry, however, decides to walk, enjoying nature along the way. Sequels include Henry Builds a Cabin, Henry Climbs a Mountain, Henry Works, and Henry’s Night. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-1 Thomas Locker’s Walking with Henry (Fulcrum Publishing, 2011), illustrated with Locker’s beautiful paintings, follows Thoreau as he hikes through the wilderness.  (“When he awoke, the grass was covered/with morning dew. It looked like a mirror/broken into a thousand fragments/wildly reflecting the full blaze of the rising sun.”) Included is a timeline of Thoreau’s life. For ages 4-9.
 imgres-2 In Robert Burleigh’s If You Spent a Day with Thoreau at Walden Pond (Henry Holt and Company, 2012) – illustrated with gorgeous paintings by Wendell Minor – a small boy in blue jeans knocks on the door of a little house in the woods and then proceeds to spend a gentle, magical day with the owner: Henry David Thoreau. (“If you spent a day with Henry David Thoreau, you would need to get there early because Henry wakes with the sun.”) Appendices include background information on Thoreau and a list of Thoreau quotes. A lovely read for ages 5-10.
 imgres-3 In Julie Dunlap and Marybeth Lorbiecki’s Louisa May and Mr. Thoreau’s Flute (Dial, 2002), seven-year-old Louisa May Alcott is fascinated by independent-minded Henry David Thoreau, who carries a flute in his pocket, tucks a pencil behind his ear for jotting down notes in his journal, and takes the children on nature walks. Louisa – nicknamed Louy – has some independent thoughts of her own, and Mr. Thoreau’s example eventually helps her find her own way to writing. For ages 5-9.
 imgres-4 Stephen Schnur’s Henry David’s House (Charlesbridge, 2007) is a picture-book adaptation of Walden with quotations from the original for ages 5-9.
 images Robert Burleigh’s A Man Named Thoreau (Atheneum, 1985) is out of print, but well worth tracking down – a simple story of how, though his life may have looked odd and pointless to some, Thoreau was thinking, observing, and having ideas that have become important to us all. Illustrated with lovely charcoal drawings. For ages 6-10.
 imgres-5 Michael McCurdy’s Walden Then and Now: An Alphabetical Tour of Henry Thoreau’s Pond (Charlesbridge, 2010) is an overview of Walden, past and present, illustrated with great woodblock prints. It’s designed like a child’s alphabet book: a short alphabetical phrase describes something Thoreau himself experienced or saw – A is for the angry ants whose battles Henry described in Walden; B for the bean field he planted – while a following paragraph provides information about the changes that have taken place in modern times. “J is for the joy he felt at being alone,” for example, is paired with a text explaining that Walden Pond now is visited by 600,000 people a year. For ages 8 and up.
 imgres-6 By Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, the play The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail (Hill and Wang, 2001) is a brilliant account of Thoreau’s life and philosophy, centered around the night he spent in jail for refusing to pay taxes to support the Mexican-American War – a war fought without Congressional approval and a blatant example of imperialism. A wonderful, witty, and discussion-provoking read for teenagers and adults.
The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail is a teacher’s guide to accompany the play with background information and discussion questions.
 imgres-8 Michael Sims’s The Adventures of Henry Thoreau (Bloomsbury USA, 2014) traces Thoreau’s life from his boyhood (he liked to ice skate, sing, and walk in the woods) through his education at Harvard, his friendship with Ralph Waldo Emerson, his famous cabin at Walden Pond, and his transformation into world-famous author and environmentalist. For teenagers and adults.
 imgres-9 Robert Sullivan’s biography The Thoreau You Don’t Know (Harper Perennial, 2011) points out that Thoreau – rather than just an oddball loner who disliked new suits of clothes – was friendly, chatty, and lived most of his life in town. An interesting and informative read for teenagers and adults.
 imgres-13 Ecologist David R. Foster’s Thoreau’s Country (Harvard University Press, 2002) describes how – equipped with Thoreau’s journals – the author built his own cabin in the woods, and then set out to explore how the New England landscape has changed since Thoreau took to the woods in the 19th century. For teenagers and adults.
 imgres-11 The Thoreau Society provides education about Thoreau’s life, works, philosophy, and place in the world, and hosts many events for all ages. The website has a Thoreau biography and family tree, maps of Thoreau’s travels, synopses of Thoreau’s works, and more.
 imgres-12 From PBS’s “I Hear America Singing,” Henry David Thoreau is a short illustrated biography.
 imgres-7 The Transcendentalists website has background material on the philosophical movement called Transcendentalism, subscribed to by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, along with background information on prominent Transcendentalists.
 imgres-7 Henry David Thoreau is a collection of interesting and varied articles on Thoreau from the New York Times. For example, in A Man For All Seasons, find out how Thoreau’s writings are helping modern scientists analyze climate change.
 imgres-14 From Philosophy Slam, Henry David Thoreau has an overview of Thoreau’s philosophy with a list of discussion questions and associated links.
 imgres-7 Teaching Thoreau has lists of resources for educators categorized by grade (elementary grades, middle school, high school). Included are book suggestions, activities, projects, links, and more.
 imgres-7 Teaching Thoreau has resources for teachers on Thoreau and his works. Check out “Life With Principle,” a DVD on Thoreau from the Thoreau Society. Also see Thoreau’s works with hypertext annotations that explain Thoreau’s many (and sometimes obscure) references.
 imgres-15 Thoreau wasn’t an only child. In fact, he was one of four. Read about Helen Thoreau: Henry’s Big Sister.

INTO THE WOODS

 imgres-16 Jim Murphy’s Into the Deep Forest with Henry Thoreau (Clarion Books, 1995), peppered with excerpts from Thoreau’s own journals, traces Thoreau’s trips through Maine, on foot and by canoe. For ages 7-11.
 images-1 Michael Johnathon’s play Walden: The Ballad of Thoreau is a four-character play featuring a conversation between Thoreau and Emerson as Thoreau prepares to leave his cabin on Walden Pond. Download the script and accompanying lesson plans at the website above.
 imgres-17 Michael Johnathon’s Walden: The Ballad of Thoreau is a collection of 11 acoustic songs based on Thoreau’s stay at Walden Pond. Included are extensive educational notes. Song titles include “In the Woods,” “The Cabin,” and “Simple Life.”
 imgres-18 Back to Thoreau! Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods (Algonquin Books, 2008) discusses the demise of unstructured outdoor play – that is, going outside and running around in the woods – and points out how our alienation from nature (he calls it “nature-deficit disorder”) is damaging.
 images-2 The Walden Woods Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the land, literature, and legacy of Henry David Thoreau. The website has information on the Walden Woods ecosystem, activity and curriculum guides, background information on Thoreau’s life and work, and photo galleries.
 imgres-19 Build a Card Model of Henry’s Cabin is a downloadable color printout for assembling a Walden Pond house of your own.
 imgres-7 In May 1862, shortly after his death, the Atlantic magazine published Thoreau’s famous essay, Walking. Pair it with a hike.

BY HENRY

 imgres-19 Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, first published in 1854, is a reflection on the simple life, a celebration of self-reliance and introspection, and an account of a year spent in a hand-built cabin on the shores of Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Now available in many editions, it’s an American classic.
Walden: An Annotated Edition has the full text of the book online along with comments, reviews, photographs, maps, and selected quotations.
 imgres-20 “If the law is of such nature that it requires you to be an agent of injustice to another, then I say, break the law.” In his essay Civil Disobedience, originally published in 1849, Thoreau argues that the individual conscience should not be overruled by government. His beliefs have since influenced such prominent public figures as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Everyone should read it.
The annotated Civil Disobedience online has the complete text in both English and Spanish along with comments and reviews.
 imgres-7 The Writings of Henry David Thoreau has information on Thoreau’s books, journals, and correspondence, samples of Thoreau’s (terrible) handwriting, online journal transcripts, and more.

FICTIONAL HENRY

imgres-24 In Rebecca Rupp’s Octavia Boone’s Big Questions About Life, the Universe, and Everything (Candlewick, 2010), Octavia is struggling to come to terms with belief after her mother leaves the family to join the fundamentalist Redeemers. With the help of her best friend Andrew (whose big questions are about everything from time travel to alien jellyfish), Octavia finally comes to terms with her relationships, concluding – with Henry David Thoreau – that “The universe is bigger than our views of it.” For ages 10-14.
 imgres-21 In Robin Vaupel’s My Contract with Henry (Holiday House, 2003), four eighth-grade English students, as part of a class project, build a cabin in the local woods and set out to emulate Henry David Thoreau. In the process, they learn a lot about themselves and their values, and eventually galvanize the community into action when the woods is sold to developers. For ages 11-14.
 imgres-22 In Cal Armistead’s Being Henry David (Albert Whitman & Company, 2013), a  teenaged boy wakes up in Penn Station with no memory, ten dollars, and a copy of Thoreau’s Walden. He names himself Henry David and heads for Concord, Massachusetts, hoping to discover his past at Walden Pond – though it’s clear that something in his past is frightening. For ages 13 and up.
 imgres-23 Henry David Thoreau: detective? In B.B. Oak’s Thoreau at Devil’s Perch (Kensington, 2013), Thoreau – in company with Dr. Adam Walker and Walker’s feisty and intelligent cousin, Julia Bell – investigates the murder of a young black man whose body has been found at the foot of a cliff called Devil’s Perch. The first of a series. For teenagers and adults.

 

 

 

 

 

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Colors

 

Color in wonderful stuff! See below for dozens of books, color science and math, color poetry, color projects, and more. Take the Stroop Test, learn about a lot of cross crayons, and find out why pink wasn’t always for girls.

Color for Beginners

ROY G BIV is the kicky little mnemonic that helps us remember, in order, the colors of the visible spectrum: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet. According to most public-school curricula, kids should be able to name and identify the colors by the time they get out of kindergarten (both primary and secondary colors, plus brown, black, white, and gray) and there are hundreds – literally, hundreds - of books do help them do so.

 imgres By Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver, Babylit’s Alice in Wonderland (Gibbs Smith, 2014) is a “colors primer” with a Wonderland theme, featuring a white rabbit, a blue caterpillar, a yellow teapot, and a lot of red hearts. For ages 1-4.
 imgres-1 Lois Ehlert’s visually appealing Color Farm (HarperCollins, 1990) and Color Zoo (HarperCollins, 1989) pack a triple whammy, combining animals, colors, and geometric shapes. Kids discover lions, tigers, monkeys, pigs, cows, and chickens, variously pieced together from blue circles, orange squares, red triangles, and the like. For ages 2-6.
 imgres-2 Bill Martin’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (Henry Holt, 1992) – a wonderful rhyming classic – is a picture-book tour of brilliantly colored paper-collage animals, including, along with the title’s brown bear, a blue horse, green frog, purple cat, and bright-yellow duck. For ages 2-6.
 imgres-3 Tana Hoban, known for her award-winning wordless picture books illustrated with full-page photographs, has published several with color themes, among them Of Colors and Things (Greenwillow, 1996), Is It Red? Is It Yellow? Is It Blue?: An Adventure in Color (William Morrow, 1987), and Colors Everywhere (Greenwillow, 1995). This last – a collection of glowing scenes of striped umbrellas, flower gardens, autumn leaves, and birds – includes bar graphs on each page showing the proportions of the different colors present in the photographs. For ages 2-6.
 imgres-4 Bruce McMillan’s Growing Colors (Mulberry Books, 1994) is set in the garden, where readers find colors in luscious photographs of green peas, yellow corn, purple beans, and red raspberries. For ages 2-6.
For many more resources on this topic, see GARDENING.
 imgres-5 In Patricia Hubbard’s My Crayons Talk (Henry Holt, 1999), a little girl discovers colors through a very vocal box of talking crayons (Brown shouts “Play! Mudpie day!”). For ages 3-7.
 imgres-6 Anita Lobel’s One Lighthouse, One Moon (Greenwillow, 2002) is an enchanting multifaceted introduction to colors, numbers (1-10), the days of the week, the seasons, and the months of the year. Colors are paired with the days of the week, as a little girl dons different-colored footgear for each day’s activity: green gardening clogs, red cowboy boots, yellow beach sandals, pink ballet slippers. For ages 4-7.
 imgres-7 In Peter Reynolds’s Sky Color (Candlewick, 2013), art-loving Marisol is thrilled to be making a mural for the library – but there’s no blue paint. How to make a sky with no blue paint? Then she realizes that there’s far more to the sky than blue: there are all the colors of sunrises, sunsets, and swirling stars. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-8 From Perfectly Preschool, Colors has a long list of color-based activities and book suggestions for young kids. For example, try making coffee-filter butterflies, shaving-cream colors, and paper rainbows.

More About Color

 imgres-9 Joann Eckstut’s The Secret Language of Color (Black Dog & Leventhal, 2013) is a lushly illustrated history and science of color. Readers learn – among much else – why grass is green and flamingos are pink, where yellow journalism comes from, and why doctors wear green scrubs. For teenagers and adults.
 imgres-10 Victoria Finlay’s Color: A Natural History of the Palette (Random House, 2007) is a fascinating exploration of pigments worldwide, filled with intriguing info. Learn all about logwood, saffron, indigo, and lapis lazuli. For teenagers and adults.
 imgres-11 Alexander Theroux’s The Primary Colors and The Secondary Colors (Henry Holt, 1996) are two essay collections, both fascinating compilations of everything (everything!) having to do with red, blue, yellow, orange, purple, or green. For teenagers and adults.
 imgres-12 From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, see Color for philosophers. Color is a lot more complicated than you might think.
 imgres-13 Color Matters is a website devoted to all aspects of color, including color symbolism, color psychology, color vision, and the science of color, plus lists of color resources. For younger visitors, there’s a kids’ page and fun color facts.
 imgres-14 From the Tech Museum, Make a Splash with Color covers a wide range of color topics, including color science, color vision, hue, brightness, and saturation, and more.
 imgres-15 Color Theory for Art and Design covers Color as Symbol, Color as Light, Color as Emotion, and Color Terms, and ends up with a Color Quiz.

 Color and History

 imgres-16 Think you know the stories behind the most iconic colors around the world? Tackle the Colors of History Quiz. Five categories: Landmarks, Geography, Science, Pop Culture, and Sports.
 imgres-17 Pigments Through the Ages has illustrated histories of purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, white, brown, and black. Under Red, for example, readers learn that in China, the Phoenix was called the Vermilion Bird, that Neolithic hunters buried their dead with red ochre, and that the red rose is dedicated to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love.
 imgres-18 From Pantone, check out this 50 Years of Color History infographic (and see a list of award-winning Colors of the Year). (2013: Emerald.)
 imgres-19 A Graphic History of the Color Pink claims that no other color in modern history has had such an impact on masculinity, femininity, and politics.
 imgres-19 Pink is for girls? Really? Read all about it at When Did Girls Start Wearing Pink? from Smithsonian magazine.
 images-4 From Filmaker IQ, see The History and Science of Color Film from Isaac Newton to the Coen Brothers. Lots of illustrations and video clips.

 Color Mixing to Color Theory

 imgres-21 In Alan Baker’s White Rabbit’s Color Book (Kingfisher, 1999), White Rabbit plunges into pots of primary-colored paint. Readers learn about colors, color-mixing, shapes, letters, and numbers. For ages 2-5.
 images-1 Color mixing – in a messy but artistic sense – is the theme of Ellen Stoll Walsh’s Mouse Paint (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1995), in which a trio of plump white mice come upon three jars of paint (red, blue, and yellow) and discover – with a lot of splashing about – how to combine them to make green, orange, and purple. For ages 3-6.
 imgres-23 Ann Jonas’s Color Dance (Mulberry Books, 1999) explains color-mixing through dance, as three children in leotards twirl and whirl with billowing red, blue, and yellow scarves. For ages 3-7.
 images While the best introduction to color-mixing is almost certainly to plop down some protective newspaper and a few pots of paint and let the kids experiment (“Look, Mom! I made brown!”), there are many resources available for expanding upon this activity.
 littlegreen2 The KinderArt website has a large selection of great art lesson plans for kids in preschool through grade 12, many with color themes. For example, see “Blotter Bugs” (a color-mixing activity) and “Neutral Colors” (learn all about black, brown, gray, and white).
 imgres-24 Color Changing Milk is a simple (and fun) experiment in which kids explore color-mixing with food coloring, milk, and soap.
 imgres-25 From the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Learn About Color online by mixing red, yellow, and blue to change the color of William, the museum’s famous little hippopotamus.
 imgres-26 For older kids and teens, the online art school WetCanvas offers (free) detailed lessons on a wide range of art topics and techniques. Included is a 16-lesson series on Color Theory and Mixing. (To start, you’ll need paper and a box of colored pencils.) Sample lesson titles include “A Wheel of Color,” “The History of Color,” and “Color Perspective.”
 imgres-27 Learn color theory with The Interactive Color Wheel.
 imgres-28 Learn all about the history of The Wonderful Color Wheel with terrific period illustrations.

Color and Art

 41JD1KJ2XWL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_ The Art of Colors: For Children and Adults (Margaret Steele; Fotofolio, 1999) combines color and art history: kids are introduced to color through twelve different modern art works – for example, purple in an Andy Warhol silkscreen, black in a Louise Nevelson sculpture, red in an oil by Mark Rothko. The book also has a multicultural flair: names of the colors are given in English, Spanish, French, German, and Japanese. For ages 4 and up.
 imgres-29 Philip Ball’s Bright Earth (University of Chicago Press, 2003) is a detailed history and science of colors in painting. For older teenagers and adults.
 2012-10-11 01.24.01 This Primary Colors Lesson Plan for preschoolers and early-elementary kids is a colorful art project based on the work of artist Piet Mondrian.
 color-scramble From Dick Blick, Color Scramble is a project in which kids made geometric color pictures based on the work of Frank Stella, using colored masking tape.
 P.-Signac,-Woman-with-an-Um Color Vision & Art covers how color is used by artists, with detailed background information and many illustrations and examples of artworks.

Seeing in Color

 images-2 From Neuroscience for Kids, Color Vision has background information, illustrations, resources, and experiment suggestions for a range of ages.
 images-3 From Webvision, Color Vision is a detailed scientific explanation of how color vision works. Pair this one with high-school biology class.
 imgres-20 The Joy of Visual Perception is an online book on the eye, with many sections related to color and color vision. For example, check out the pages on Newton’s prism, color mixing, color blindness, and rainbows.
 imgres-30 From How Stuff Works, How Vision Works includes illustrated information on color vision and color blindness.
 imgres-32 Color Match is an online version of the Stroop Test, in which players match color meanings with differently colored words. A simple but surprising test on how the brain processes color. Try it!
Read more about the Stroop Test here and try an interactive online experiment.
 imgres-30 Do you think you might be colorblind? Take the Ishihara Color Vision test online.

Color and Feelings

 imgres-33 Dr. Seuss’s My Many Colored Days (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 1998) is a rhyming association of colors with feelings: on a yellow day, the narrator is “a busy, buzzy bee,” on a green day, a “cool and quiet fish,” on a black day, a howling wolf. For ages 3-7.
From the Book Nook, My Many Colored Days has discussion questions and activities to accompany the book. For example, kids make color spinners and color puppets, go on a color hunt, and make color-dyed hardboiled eggs with emotional facial expressions.
 images-5 Arnold Lobel’s The Great Blueness and Other Predicaments (HarperCollins, 1994) is a wonderful picture book on the emotional impact of color, as a wizard, inventing colors, turns a little town blue (which makes everybody sad), yellow (which gives everyone headaches), and red (which makes everyone angry), until finally coming up with the best solution: to use all the colors at once. It’s out of print, but worth tracking down. Check your library. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-34 Leo Lionni’s A Color of His Own (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2006) is a story about learning to know and value oneself, told from the point of view of a chubby little chameleon who doesn’t want to change color. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-35 Also by Lionni, Little Blue and Little Yellow (HarperCollins, 1995) is a story about friendship (the colors ultimately blend to form a beautiful green). For ages 4-8.
 imgres-36 In Drew Daywait’s The Day the Crayons Quit (Philomel, 2013), the colors have had it: Red is sick of coloring Santa Clauses and Valentine hearts; Blue is tired of oceans; White is just plain depressed, not being used for anything; and Yellow and Orange both claim to be the rightful color of the sun. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-27 From The Great Courses, How Colors Affect You: What Science Reveals is a six-lecture course on the meaning and psychology of color by Professor William Lidwell of the University of Houston. Officially the course costs about $100 (downloadable or on DVD), but watch the website – periodic sales offer the courses at a fraction of the listed costs.

Color and Poetry

 There are many entrancing color poems – everything from Walter de la Mare’s magical Silver to Gelett Burgess’s foolish The Purple Cow. Check out some of these:

 imgres-37 Mary O’Neill’s Hailstones and Halibut Bones (Doubleday, 1990) is a great resource for potential color-poets: a wonderful illustrated collection of poems about every color of the rainbow (and then some). (“The purple feeling/Is rather put-out./The purple look is a/Definite pout./But the purple sound/Is the loveliest thing./It’s a violet opening/In the spring.”) For ages 4-8.
 imgres-38 Joyce Sidman’s Red Sings From Treetops (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009) is an enchantingly illustrated collection of color poems throughout the seasons. (“Yellow slips goldfinches/their spring jackets.”) For ages 4-8.
For many more resources on the seasons, see WHAT HAPPENS WHEN: STUDYING THE SEASONS.
 imgres-39 Malathi Michelle Iyengar’s Tan to Tamarind: Poems About the Color Brown (Children’s Book Press, 2009) is a collection of fifteen poems about the many shades of brown, from tan and beige to honey, cinnamon, and topaz. Illustrations show kids in a wide variety of skin colors. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-40 Sheila Hamanaka’s All the Colors of the Earth (Mulberry Books, 1999) is a celebration of all the different colors of children everywhere: the brown of “roaring bears,” the “tinkling pinks of tiny seashells,” “amber and ivory and ginger.” For ages 4-8.
 imgres-41 Jane Yolen’s Color Me a Rhyme (Wordsong, 2003) is a photo-illustrated collection of nature poems for kids. Each page includes a long list of synonyms for the featured color, printed in color, and a color quotation. For ages 8-12.
 images-6 Christina Rosetti’s poem Color begins “What is pink? A rose is pink/By a fountain’s brink” – and ends “What is orange? Why, an orange/Just an orange!”
 imgres-42 Marge Piercy’s Color Passing Through Us is a wonderful collection of color images: “Purple as tulips in May,” “Yellow as a goat’s wise and wicked eyes,” “Green as mint jelly.”
 imgres-43 Color from Emily Dickinson: Nature rarer uses yellow.
 imgres-44 What color are vowels? See Vowels by French poet Arthur Rimbaud.
 color poems Susan Gaylord’s Color Poems has suggestions for making color poetry books using torn tissue paper or collage materials.
For many more poetry resources for all ages, see POETRY I and POETRY II.

Color and Science

 images-8 Nature’s Paintbrush by Susan Stockdale (Simon & Schuster, 1999) is an appealing picture-book explanation of color and pattern in nature. Kids discover the reasons for the tiger’s orange and black stripes, the toucan’s gaudy beak, and poison-dart frog’s brilliant spots.  For ages 3-8.
 imgres-49 Pat Murphy and Paul Doherty’s The Color of Nature (Chronicle Books, 1996) expands upon this theme for older readers: the book is a 150-page assemblage of fascinating information about color, illustrated with photographs. Readers learn why flamingos are pink, why grass is green, why wildflowers are brightly colored, and how to tell the age of a desert from the color of its sand. For ages 10 and up.
 imgres-47 From National Geographic, Life in Color is a series of photo galleries devoted to color in nature. Wonderful pictures, categorized by featured color.
 imgres-48 Gary Gibson’s Light and Color (Copper Beech Books, 1995) includes an assortment of color-related hands-on projects and experiments – among them mixing colors and splitting white light into the colors of the spectrum. For ages 7 and up.
 imgres-27 The San Francisco Exploratorium’s Colorfest has background information on the science of color, along with many colorful videos, demonstrations, projects, and interactive activities.
 images-7 Learn about Color and Dye Chemistry while making a tie-dyed T-shirt. (You’ll need to buy materials and T-shirt.)
See this Jacquard Tie Dye Kit, which has enough materials for making up to fifteen tie-dyed shirts. (About $20 from Amazon.)
 dye_225.jpg__225x1000_q85 In Color Burst, kids use paper chromatography to separate dyes into their individual components. (Find out what’s in green.)
 images-4 From Vimeo, The History and Science of Color Temperature is a series of short videos (plus a quiz). Learn about color and temperature using examples of everything from Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” to the Coen Brothers’ “Fargo.”
 images-9 From Science Buddies, kids using the Rainbow Fire kit can explore flame photometry and learn how astronomers, using color, determine the atomic composition of distant stars. This is incredibly cool, but involves chemicals and matches and requires adult supervision.
 imgres-50 From Annenberg Learner, The Science of Light has background information, simulations, and activities about “Light in Color” and “The Laws of Light.” For example, kids explore colored shadows and stellar spectra, and find out how illustrations are often made from colored dots.
 imgres-51 From the Sciences Education Foundation, Chromatics: The Science of Color is a downloadable 100+-page unit covering such topics as “Surfing the Electromagnetic Spectrum,” “Fireworks and Flame Photometry,” “Why Plants are Green,” and “Chemiluminescence.”
See many more great chemistry resources at CHEMISTRY.

Rainbows

 imgres-52 Ul de Rico’s gorgeously illustrated The Rainbow Goblins (Thames & Hudson, 1978) is the wonderful tale of seven goblins (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet) who spend their time lassoing rainbows and eating all the colors. There’s a happy ending for the rainbow, but the story explains why now the rainbow never touches the earth. For ages 5 and up.
 imgres-53 E.C. Krupp’s The Rainbow and You (HarperCollins, 2000) – narrated by Roy G. Biv himself, wearing spiffy rainbow-striped socks – explains the science, history, and lore of the rainbow, plus shows kids how to make a rainbow of their own with the garden hose. For ages 6-12.
 images-10 From NASA, What Causes a Rainbow? is an illustrated explanation targeted at kids.
 images-10 From PBS, The Science of Rainbows is a friendly account on YouTube.
 images-10 Learn about How Rainbows Work from How Stuff Works, and view a rainbow image gallery.
 images-10 Science of Rainbows for Kids covers the colors of the rainbow, why rainbows are arc-shaped, primary and secondary rainbows, and more, with photos and animations.
 imgres-54 Make Your Own Rainbow with a glass of water. (And a sunny day.)
 imgres-55 How to Make a Rainbow in a Glass is a gorgeous experiment in which kids learn about density. Also see Steve Spangler’s impressive Seven Layer Density Column.
  Also see CLOUDS AND RAIN.

Color Math

 imgres-3 Tana Hoban’s Colors Everywhere (Greenwillow, 1995) – a collection of glowing color photos of everything from striped umbrellas to gaudy birds – includes bar graphs on each page showing the proportions of the different colors present. For ages 2-6.
 imgres-56 Barbara Barbieri McGrath’s Teddy Bear Counting (Charlesbridge, 2010) and Teddy Bear Patterns (Charlesbridge, 2013) both use brightly colored teddy bears to teach colors, counting, shapes, sequencing, skip counting, and more. For ages 3-7.
 images-11 Pair these with hands-on counting bears. A collection of 50 in five different colors costs about $8 from Amazon.
 imgres-57 In The Crayon Counting Book by Pam Munoz Ryan and Jerry Pallotta (Charlesbridge, 1996), kids not only learn to count to 24 by 2’s, but discover a whole new world of bizarre colors, among them iguana, purple hairstreak, and emerald boa. (Go on. Invent color names of your own.) For ages 3-8.
 imgres-58 Color-minded mathematicians might enjoy investigating the famous “Four-Color Map Problem,” a mathematical mind-boggler that states that four colors – just four – are enough to color any map such that no two regions with a common border will be colored with the same color. (Don’t believe it? Get a ready-to-be-colored outline map and try it.)
Kids can explore the map problem at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s This is Mega-Mathematics! Click on The Most Colorful Math of All for an illustrated explanation of the four-color theorem, plus related activities and projects.
 new_york From Mappa Mundi, The Four-Color Map Problem is a short illustrated history.
 images-12 From Coolmath, see this list of online Shape and Color Games.
 imgres-59 Hexadecimal numbers are used on web pages to set colors. Experiment with Hexadecimal Colors (there are 16 million of them) here.

 

 

 

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Eggs

 

See below for all things egg, including surprising eggs, scientific eggs, magical eggs, alien eggs, and jeweled eggs. Try the incredible egg drop experiment, make egg geodes, and find out the real answer to the troubling question of which came first: the chicken or the egg?

Related posts include BIRDS, PENGUINS , and CHICKENS, CHICKS, AND LITTLE RED HENS.

ALL ABOUT EGGS

 imgres-9 Laura Vaccarro Seeger’s First the Egg (Roaring Brook Press, 2007), a Caldecott Honor Book, is a cleverly designed explanation of what comes first: First the egg, then the chicken; First the tadpole, then the frog; First the caterpillar, then the butterfly; First the paint, then the picture…and all ties up neatly at the end. For ages 2-5.
 imgres-1 Tillie, of Terry Golson’s Tillie Lays an Egg (Scholastic, 2009) lives with six other hens in the henhouse in the backyard of Little Pond Farm. The other hens cooperatively lay their eggs in nesting boxes, but Tillie prefers the garden, the porch, the kitchen, the laundry basket, and the pickup truck. Color photographs follow the unpredictable Tillie around the farm. Think hide-and-seek, with a chicken and some eggs. For ages 3-7.
 imgres-2 Ruth Heller’s gorgeous picture book Chickens Aren’t the Only Ones (Puffin, 1999) is an irresistible rhyming account of egg-laying animals and their eggs – among them seahorses, snakes, spiders, and octopuses. You’ll never forget the meaning of “oviparous.” For ages 4-8.
 imgres-3 Mia Posada’s Guess What’s Growing Inside This Egg (Millbrook Press, 2006) is a fun interactive read. For each of the featured eggs, there’s a riddle-like verse providing clues; then readers turn the page to find out what’s inside the egg, along with a short informational paragraph about the animal. Attractive collage illustrations. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-4 By Priscilla Belz Collins, A Nest Full of Eggs (HarperCollins, 1995) in the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series follows a robin family through the year, beginning with nest building, then the eggs are laid and hatched, baby birds are cared for, and learn to fly. Nicely presented information in story form for ages 4-8.
Looking for more bird resources? See BIRDS for stories, poems, projects, math and science, arts and crafts, and more.
 imgres-5 Also in the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series, see Amy E. Sklansky’s Where Do Chicks Come From? (HarperCollins, 2005).
 imgres-7 By Nicola Davies, One Tiny Turtle (Candlewick, 2005) is the gentle story of a loggerhead turtle who lives in the ocean – until one summer night she arrives on the very beach where she was born to lay her own eggs. Notes provide additional information. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-6 Martin Jenkins’s The Emperor’s Egg (Candlewick, 2002) is the story of how the male emperor penguin – largest of all penguins – spends two months without food, standing with an egg on his feet. For ages 4-9.
From The Teacher’s Guide, The Emperor’s Egg Printouts are a collection of word games and puzzles to accompany the book.
For many more penguin resources, see PENGUINS.
 imgres-8 Gail Gibbons’s Chicks and Chickens (Holiday House, 2005) is an attractively illustrated picture-book introduction to chicken biology and behavior, variously covering egg-laying, embryo development and hatching, the characteristics of chicks, hens, and roosters, and a survey of chicken breeds. For ages 5-8.
 imgres By Dianna Hutts Aston, An Egg is Quiet (Chronicle Books, 2014) is an exquisitely illustrated introduction to the vast variety of eggs, discussing shapes, sizes, patterns, functions, and the many places in which eggs are found. A wonderful introduction for ages 5-8.
 imgres-10 By Dawn Cusick and Joanne O’Sullivan, Animal Eggs (Early Light, 2012) is a 48-page account of eggs, illustrated with creative color photographs. Covered is an amazing array of eggs, from those of skinks and spiders to frogs, turtles, birds, and more. Readers learn about egg shapes, sizes, and colors; the many ways in which animals protect their eggs; which animals steal eggs; and more. For ages 5-9.
 imgres-11 People have eggs too. Robie H. Haris’s 88-page It’s So Amazing! (Candlewick, 2004) – subtitled “A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families” – is a gentle, cheerful, and straightforward explanation of sex, birth, puberty, and different kinds of families (helped along with some banter between a talkative bird and bee). Very well done for ages 7-10.
 imgres-12 By photographer Rosamond Purcell, Egg & Nest (Belknap Press, 2008) is a gorgeous collection of color photographs of eggs and nests, accompanied by a helpful text on the history of egg collecting and the biology of birds. For teenagers and adults, but all ages will love the pictures.
 imgres-13 From the Food Timeline, Eggs has a lot of information about the history of eggs, egg symbolism, egg sizes and preservation, and egg cookery, with quotations and resources.
 imgres-13 A Day in the Life of an Egg Farmer includes a video on the journey of an egg from farm to table.
 imgres-13 All About Eggs from A to Z is an online encyclopedia of all things egg from Air Sac, Albumen, and Angel Food Cake to Yolk, Zeaxantin, and Zabaglione.
 imgres-13 From History for Kids, Eggs is a brief history of egg-eating from ancient times on, with project suggestions, recipes, and a book list.

LESSON PLANS

 images From First School, Eggs Theme is a multifaceted preschool lesson plan with printable worksheets (E is for Egg, N is for Nest) and coloring pages, online puzzles and games, and activity suggestions.
 images-1 Egg-Laying Animals is a lesson plan for grades 2-6 in which kids make papier-maché eggs and build appropriate habitats for them.
 imgres-14 From Egg to Chick is a lesson plan to accompany a chick-hatching project, with a long list of associated experiments and arts and crafts. For elementary-level students. (See EGG SCIENCE, below.)
 imgres-14 The Incredible Egg is a downloadable 72-page 4-H curriculum guide targeted at grades 4-5. It covers the parts of an egg, chick embryology, and egg nutrition and the food pyramid. Many illustrated worksheets.
 imgres-15 Education World’s multidisciplinary Five Lesson Plans for Easter: Just Add Eggs are really appropriate for any time of the year. For example, kids make and read maps leading to hidden eggs; make egg-based paints; experiment with eggs in saltwater; do math exercises with jelly eggs; and do art projects with egg cartons. Each lesson plan has extension activities. (There’s a lot here.) Appropriate for a wide range of ages.
 imgres-16 From the Utah Education Network, Food and Nutrition I is a six-day unit on eggs. Included are background info for parents and teachers, recipes, and printable worksheets. (Also see EATING EGGS, below.)
 imgres-13 The American Egg Board’s For Educators page has a great collection of lesson plans, categorized by age group (grades K-3, 4-6, 7-8, and 9-12). Also from the AEB, order a free copy of the 185-page Egg Science & Technology Lesson Plan.
 imgres-13 Conscious Consumerism: Egg Production is a lesson plan targeted at ages 9-13 in which kids investigate and discuss commercial egg production and design an ideal chicken coop.

IMAGINATIVE EGGS

 imgres-17 Barney Saltzberg’s Good Egg (Workman, 2009) is a delightful interactive book (with Egg). Flaps and tabs operate the egg as it’s told to sit, roll over, lie down, catch, and finally “Speak!” – at which point a bright-eyed chick hatches. For ages 2-5.
 imgres-18 In Andy Cutbill’s The Cow That Laid an Egg (HarperCollins, 2008), Marjorie is depressed because she’s just an ordinary cow, and can’t ride a bicycle or do handstands like the other cows. Then – after some clever chickens get to work with a paintbrush – Marjorie wakes to discover that she’s (apparently) laid a black-and-white Holstein-cow-spotted egg. The other cows refuse to believe in Marjorie’s egg and accuse the chickens, who refuse to tell. (“Prove it!”) Eventually Marjorie’s egg hatches a chick – whose first word out of the shell is “Moo!” With hilarious illustrations by Russell Ayto. Pair this one with Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hatches the Egg. For ages 2-6.
For more cow resources, see MOO! ALL ABOUT COWS.
 imgres-19 By Tad Hills, Duck & Goose (Schwartz & Wade, 2006) features a delightful pair who occasionally have trouble getting along. When they find an enormous spotted egg, both claim it (“I saw it first.” “I touched it first.”). They unite, however, in the process of caring for the egg – and aren’t at all dismayed when they discover that the “egg” is actually a polka-dot ball. One of a series. For ages 3-7.
 imgres-20 In Leo Lionni’s An Extraordinary Egg (Dragonfly Books, 1998), Jessica, an adventurous frog, finds and rolls home an egg – promptly pronounced by her know-it-all friend Marilyn to be a chicken egg. When the egg hatches an alligator, the frogs persist in calling it a chicken and all become friends – though it’s surprising how well the “chicken” can swim. When the baby is finally returned to its mother, the frogs all get a chuckle out of how she refers to the chicken as “My sweet alligator.” For ages 3-7.
 imgres-21 In Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hatches the Egg (Random House, 2004), Horton – surely the most lovable elephant in literature – faithfully cares for ditsy bird Maysie’s egg, despite trials, tribulations, and teasing. (“I said what I meant and I meant what I said/An elephant’s faithful, one hundred percent!”) Finally Horton’s much-cared-for egg hatches out an elephant bird. For ages 4-8.
For many more resources on elephants, see APPRECIATING ELEPHANTS.
Learn about real elephant birds at David Attenborough and the mystery of the elephant bird.
From Fun Trivia, see this interesting list of questions and answers about The Great Elephant Bird.
 imgres-22 I – well – just love Emily Gravett. In Gravett’s The Odd Egg (Simon & Schuster, 2009), all the birds had laid an egg – except Duck. Instead he finds an enormous green-spotted egg and, though all the other birds make fun of it, he persists in waiting for it to hatch (knitting all the time). Finally Duck’s egg produces an enormous baby alligator. The pictures are priceless. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-23 In Bill Peet’s rhyming The Pinkish, Purplish, Bluish Egg (Sandpiper Books, 1984), Myrtle, a turtle dove, adopts an enormous and peculiar egg, which hatches out a little griffin. Despite horrified responses from the other birds (“Just look! The thing is half lion, half eagle./I’m sure that it must be unsafe or illegal.”), Myrtle loves the griffin and names him Zeke – and Zeke, grown bigger, heroically saves the birds from a pack of foxes. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-24 Robert D. San Souci’s The Talking Eggs (Dial, 1989) is the adaptation of a Creole folktale featuring two sisters, Blanche (“sweet and kind and sharp as forty crickets”) and Rose (selfish and mean). Kind Blanche helps a strange old lady who gives her some talking eggs that provide her with wonderful things. Rose then sets off to get some eggs of her own, but – since she ignores the old lady’s instructions – ends up with eggs that release only snakes and wasps. With illustrations by Jerry Pinkney. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-25 In Patricia Polacco’s Just Plain Fancy (Dragonfly Books, 1994), Naomi, an Amish girl, complains that everything about her life – clothes, houses, and chickens – is just too plain. Then she and her sister Ruth find an unusual egg that hatches out a very peculiar chicken. They name it Fancy and try to keep it a secret for fear that the elders won’t approve – until one day. at a working bee, Fancy breaks out of the henhouse and shows himself to be a glorious peacock. (The elders think he’s just fine.) For ages 4-8.
 imgres-26 In Jan Brett’s Hedgie’s Surprise (Putnam Juvenile Books, 2000), a Tomten – a Scandinavian gnome – is pinching Henny’s eggs, but the problem is solved with some help from a little hedgehog. Wonderful illustrations with Scandinavian needlepoint borders. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-27 In The Crows of Pearblossom (Harry N. Abrams, 2011) – Aldous Huxley’s one and only children’s book – the crows who live in Pearblossom’s cottonwood tree are bedeviled by a rattlesnake, who keeps eating their eggs. Finally, with the help of an owl, they manage to trick the snake with a pair of fake eggs – and then live happily ever after, hatching out four families of seventeen children each. The illustrations are great fun – the crows’ nest, for example, includes a grandfather clock and a bassinet for the egg. A witty read for ages 4-8.
 imgres-28 In Alex T. Smith’s Foxy and Egg (Holiday House, 2011), Egg shows up on Foxy’s doorstep, and Foxy – who has a cunning plan concerning tomorrow’s breakfast – invites Egg in. She plies Egg with desserts (she wants a large egg), amuses Egg with games (she wants a fit egg), and finally tucks Egg into bed. In the morning, however, Foxy finds that Egg, overnight, has become simply enormous – and then, with a CRACK, Egg hatches out a large green alligator. The pictures add to the humor – for example, Foxy’s house is entirely decorated with chickens. For ages 5-7.
 imgres-29 In M.P. Robertson’s The Egg (Puffin, 2004), George discovers a truly gigantic golden egg in the family henhouse. He transports it (by wheelbarrow) to his bedroom, settles it on his bed, and reads it stories – and shortly the egg hatches, producing a baby dragon. George now sets about teaching the dragon the essentials of dragonly ways: flying, breathing fire, battling knights, and distressing damsels. The two can’t talk to each other, but they understand each other – as is revealed at the touching and grateful end. For ages 5-8.
 imgres-30 In Martha Freeman’s The Case of the Missing Dinosaur Egg (Holiday House, 2013), First Kids Cammie and Tessa – daughters of the first female president – are at the opening of a new dinosaur exhibit at the National Museum of National History, when a supposedly 70-million-year-old egg hatches and – an ostrich chick emerges. Off the kids go to find out what happened to the real egg. One of the First Kids Mystery series for ages 7-10.
See DINOSAURS.
 imgres-31 In William Joyce’s E. Aster Bunnymund and the Warrior Eggs (Atheneum, 2012), E. Aster Bunnymund – of the brotherhood of the Pookas, philosophical warrior rabbits of great intelligence and size – and his mechanical Warrior Eggs are off to battle Pitch, the Nightmare King. One of The Guardians of Childhood series for ages 7-11.
 imgres-32 In E. Nesbit’s The Phoenix and the Carpet (Puffin, 2012) – originally published in 1904 – five children discover a wonderful egg rolled up in the new carpet that has been purchased for the nursery. The egg falls into the fire and hatches out a fabulous (talking) Phoenix. In company with the Phoenix and the carpet (which turns out to be magic), the kids set out on a series of adventures. (A sequel to Five Children and It.) For ages 8-11.
 imgres-33 In Sarah L. Thomson’s Dragon’s Egg (Greenwillow Books, 2007), dragons are small farm animals – and Mella, who has a talent for dragons, is in charge of caring for her family’s herd. Then a knight arrives, following signs of mythical dragons – the fire-breathing monsters of legend – after which Mella finds a true dragon’s egg in the forest, guarded by a terrifying and enormous dragon. In company with the knight’s squire, Roger, Mella sets off to take the egg safely to the dragon Hatching Grounds. For ages 8-12.
Want more dragon books? See DRAGONS.
 imgres-34 In Oliver Butterworth’s The Enormous Egg (Little, Brown, 1993), one of the hens in the Twitchell family henhouse lays an enormous egg – which hatches out an infant Triceratops. Twelve-year-old Nate names the dinosaur Uncle Beazley and decides to raise it himself, but a growing dinosaur proves challenging, so Nate – with the help of a friendly paleontologist – decides to find Uncle Beazley a home. He doesn’t expect the resulting political furor. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-35 In Bruce Coville’s Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007), 12-year-old Jeremy stumbles upon a mysterious magic shop and ends up with a dragon’s egg. Eventually the egg hatches and produces Tiamat, a dragon that only Jeremy and his friend Mary Lou can see. It’s not easy, however, raising an invisible dragon. One of the Magic Shop series for ages 9-12.
 imgres-36 By Diana Wynne Jones, The Pinhoe Egg (Harper Collins, 2006) is one of the Chronicles of Chrestomanci series, set in a parallel British universe featuring castles and magic. In this volume, enchanter Cat Chant and young witch Marianne Pinhoe find an incredible egg – hidden for years in an attic – that hatches out a baby griffin. A good bet for fans of Harry Potter. For ages 9 and up.
 imgres-38 In Kathy Mackel’s Eggs in One Basket (HarperCollins, 2006), football star Scott Schreiber – right in the middle of an important game – is blindsided by a horrible screeching noise that nobody but he and Stacia Caraviello (a Weird Band Girl) can hear. It turns out that Scott’s science project – a nest of odd eggs that he found in the woods – really come from outer space. Scott and friends are soon entangled in an intergalactic battle between the peaceful, but powerful, birdlike aliens, the Lyra, and the evil Shards. And there’s a space security cop who looks like a dog. For ages 11-13.

EATING EGGS

 images-3 Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham (Random House, 1960) is the rollicking story of Sam-I-Am, who is doing his best to convince a friend to eat green eggs and ham. His friend DOES NOT LIKE green eggs and ham. For ages 3-7.
It’s also funny in French, as Les Oeufs Verts au Jambon (Ulysses Press, 2009).
See if YOU like green eggs and ham. From Seussville.com, check out these recipes. (Hint: you’ll need green food coloring.)
 imgres-39 Also see Dr. Seuss’s Scrambled Eggs Super (Random House, 1953) in which Peter T. Hooper sets out to find a fabulous collections of eggs for the most incredible breakfast ever. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-40 In Alison Jackson’s Eggs Over Evie (Henry Holt and Company, 2010), 12-year-old Evie – a budding chef – has problems: her celebrity-chef father’s new wife is expecting twins; her mother is starting to date; and Evie is feeling lost. Cooking turns out to be a way for Evie to find herself. Each chapter begins with a cooking quote and features a recipe (many with eggs). Try Evie’s Mount Vesuvius Omelet Souffle. For ages 9-12.
 imgres-41 By Roald Dahl (with great illustrations by Quentin Blake), see Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes (Puffin, 1997) for an irresistible recipe for Stink Bug Eggs.
 images-4 A recipe for perfectly cooked soft-boiled eggs (with science): from Scientific American, see Egg-cellently Cooked Eggs for instructions and explanations.
 imgres-42 Your scrambled eggs are wrong! Find out why here, with an explanation from America’s Test Kitchen.
The Science Behind Eggs has a brief explanation and a slide show of favorite foods made possible by eggs (say, angel food cake and custard).

EGG SCIENCE

 imgres-43 Steve Spangler’s Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes (Greenleaf, 2010) is a collection of great science experiments, among them at least four with eggs. Cool for everybody; recommended for ages 9 and up.
Steve Spangler Science online has a great list of egg experiments, among them the Egg Drop, the Impossible Egg Crush, and the Incredible Egg Geode. Try them all!
 imgres-13 From the San Francisco Exploratorium’s Science of Cooking series, Eggs has illustrated information on egg science, recipes and activities, science experiments, and a (virtual) trip to an organic egg farm.
 imgres-44 From National Geographic Kids, Eggs-Periments lists several cool egg-based experiments, including an unusual way of getting a hard-boiled egg into a bottle.
Science Sparks has a list of ten interesting egg experiments, with instructions and explanations. For example, make a bouncing egg and a floating egg, and find out how strong an eggshell really is. (Very.)
 imgres-45 Chemistry and calcium! See Translucent Egg for an experiment involving calcium carbonate, acetic acid, and an egg.
Incubation and Embryology from the University of Illinois Extension has an excellent collection of detailed resources on chickens, chick embryology, and eggs. Included are instructions for building a simple cardboard-box incubator and a coffee-can egg candler.
 imgres-46 Also from the University of Illinois Extension, activities for younger students include a series of downloadable worksheets in which kids can label and identify the parts of an egg and a chicken, determine which egg is fertile, size and grade eggs, measure incubation temperatures, and more.
 images-6 Chickscope has a detailed account of the 21-day chick developmental process. Included for each day are diagrams, photographs, explanations, and related math and science projects.
 images-5 Sources for incubators, eggs, and chick supplies include My Pet ChickenStromberg’s Chicks and Game Birds, and the Carolina Biological Supply Company.
 imgres-47 Which came first: the chicken or the egg? See what science says with this great animated explanation from Gizmodo.
Chicken or Egg? Science Decides! is a great evolutionary explanation on YouTube.
 imgres-48 Egg Science: Dissolution and Osmosis has instructions for two simple experiments, illustrated with photos and diagrams.
 imgres-49 Microwave Egg Explosion. It’s an online video. Try to convince  the kids to be satisfied with that.
From the San Francisco Exploratorium, Egg Science: An Ova-view of Eggs is a fascinating 30-minute webcast on the biology of eggs.
 imgres-50 Try this online game of Guess the Egg. (Guess, then click on an egg photo to see the answer.)
 imgres-51 From AAAS, The Big Egg Mystery is: how can a bird sit on its eggs without breaking them? Included are discussion questions, a link to the PBS Kids video “An Egg is Quiet,” and printable student worksheets.
 images-7 Is it really hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk? Wait for a hot day and try this experiment.
From Science Friday, see this video on Cracking the Egg Sprinkler Mystery. (If you spin a hardboiled egg in a puddle of milk, the milk will wick up the sides of the egg and spray off at the egg’s equator. WHY?)
From the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, see these illustrated instructions for making an exciting Egg Bungee.
 imgres-52 These great short videos explain the Chemistry of Easter Egg Dyeing.
The early Earth smelled like rotten eggs. Really! Read about it here.

DROPPING EGGS

 imgres-53 In Mini Grey’s Egg Drop (Alfred A. Knopf, 2009), the star character is an egg who wants to fly. Now. Without waiting to hatch. (“The Egg was young./It didn’t listen./If only it had waited.”) So, in the teeth of all advice, the egg climbs to the top of a tower and jumps. When the inevitable happens, and the broken egg can’t be fixed (not even with nails, tomato soup, or band-aids), it ends up on a breakfast plate, sunny-side-up. It’s hilarious, but some kids may not think so. For ages 5-8.
 fd26bf4b9e7d7c081fb29c395011e2e7d2c08101 The Egg Drop – a great experiment that illustrates the concept of inertia – is simple and thrilling. (A standard event here every Thanksgiving.) You’ll need a glass of water, a cardboard tube, a pie pan, and an egg.
 images-8 Can you save an egg from death? Try building a device that will keep your egg intact when it’s dropped from a height of ten feet. For ideas, see How can you keep a falling egg from breaking? from Science on the Brain, Egg Drop Experiment from Weird Science Kids, and Egg Drop from PBSKids.

ARTISTIC EGGS

 imgres-55 In Tom Ross’s Eggbert (Puffin, 1997), an artistic egg who sports a red beret is evicted from the refrigerator because he is slightly cracked. Eggbert, at first dismayed, soon finds out that that the world is full of cracks, in everything from clouds to volcanoes to the Liberty Bell. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-56 In Patricia Polacco’s Rechenka’s Eggs (Philomel, 1988), Babushka lives alone in a little house – dacha – in the Russian countryside, where she spends her winters painting beautiful eggs for the Easter festival. Then she rescues a wounded goose and names her Rechenka – who, once healed, accidentally breaks all of Babushka’s eggs. Babushka is devastated, until Rechenka miraculously lays a set of wonderful eggs to replace the ones that were lost. For ages 4-9.
 Sue-Pysanky-S From the Incredible @rt Department, the Pysanky Ukrainian Eggs lesson plan has a history of pysanky eggs, book and resource lists, a printable handout for designing your own eggs, a gallery of painted eggs, and more.  Adaptable for a range of ages.
Learn Pysanky is a detailed tutorial for making Babushka-style Ukrainian Easter eggs.
 tvs2818_l Ukrainian Easter Eggs is a project with instructions from Martha Stewart.
 P1160712_edited-1 From That Artist Woman, Easy Easter Egg Art Project has instructions for making beautiful paper pastel-resist pysanky eggs.
 imgres-57 In Katherine Milhous’s The Egg Tree (Aladdin, 1992) – the Caldecott winner in 1951 – Katy (who can’t find any eggs on the traditional family Easter egg hunt) finds a collection of painted eggs in her grandmother’s attic. She and her cousins then learn about the Pennsylvania Dutch tradition of the Egg Tree, a tree decorated with colorful eggs. For ages 5-9.
 imgres-58 Chuck Abrams’s Intricate Eggs (Running Press, 2008) is a coloring book of intricately patterned eggs to color. A gorgeous project for lovers of colored pencils. For ages 9 and up.
 imgres-59 Keep your eggs warm! Egg Cozies (Guild of Master Craftsman Publications, 2010) has instructions for many creative egg cozies – those little English-style hats used to keep teatime boiled eggs warm. Fun for beginning knitters on up.
 blue egg From the Happy Scientist, Egg Geodes is a great illustrated account of how to make crystal-filled egg shells.
 6134_041311_egg_geodes_hd Also see Martha Stewart’s impressively gorgeous Crystal Egg Geodes.
From Scientific American, Silky Science: Tie-Dyeing Eggs has instructions for dyeing eggs with a silk necktie.
 images-9 Eggshell People has instructions for making “eggshell people” from empty eggshells, potting soil, and grass seed (for hair).  Accompanying activities include charting the rate of growth of the grass hair, keeping eggshell people diaries, and writing eggshell people stories.
 imgres-60 Make gorgeous String Eggs with balloons, string, and glue.
 DSC_0037-600x398 From Tinkerlab, 60 Egg Activities for Kids is a great collection of arts and crafts projects, among them collage eggs, vegetable-dyed eggs, ice eggs, egg candles, egg shell sculptures, and more.
 imgres-61 From Crayola, Let Me Out! Dino Eggs has instructions for making a painted dinosaur egg and emerging model dinosaur.
For more resources on dinosaurs – lots of them – see DINOSAURS.
From DLTK’s Crafts for Kids, Egg Carton Crafts has a long list of projects: make ants, bats, chicks, snakes, dragons and more, all from cardboard egg cartons.
 imgres-62 From Scholastic, Recycled Egg Carton Flowers has instructions and a video demonstration.
Not enough egg cartons for your projects? They’re available from Nasco in packages of 70 ($14.50).
History of Egg Art briefly covers the high points, among them the Faberge eggs, Ukrainian and Persian egg-decorating traditions, and the art of ostrich eggs.
 imgres-63 Chinese artist Wen Fuliang makes spectacularly detailed egg shell sculptures.

FABERGÉ’S EGGS

 imgres-64 By Toby Faber, Fabergé’s Eggs (Random House, 2008) is the story of the fabulous jeweled eggs made for Russia’s czars by renowned jeweler Carl Fabergé. A fascinating historical read for teenagers and adults.
 imgres-65 Using Marty Noble’s Artful Eggs From Around the World Stained Glass Coloring Book (Dover Publications, 2011), colorers can make 16 “stained-glass” pictures of pysanky, washi, and Fabergé eggs.
 imgres-66 Faberge Eggs: Mementos of a Doomed Dynasty is a creative lesson plan for middle- and high-school-level students, designed to accompany PBS’s Treasures of the World series.
 images-10 From the Poetry Foundation, see Elizabeth Spires’s poem Fabergé’s Egg.

MATH AND EGGS

 imgres-67 By Janet Halfmann, Eggs 1,2,3: Who Will the Babies Be? (Blue Apple Books, 2012) is an interactive counting book in which readers lift a flap to discover what’s inside the egg: for example, a penguin chick, a pair of platypuses, or nine frog tadpoles. For ages 2-5.
 imgres-68 Michael Dahl’s Eggs and Legs (Nonfiction Picture Books, 2005) is a clever exercise in learning to count by twos, as a hen watches pairs of legs emerge from hatching eggs. For ages 4-7.
Math resources! See MATH I.
 imgres-13 Incredible Edible Eggs is a downloadable math activity book for preschoolers and early-elementary kids, illustrated with drawings and color photographs. Matching games, counting, and simple addition.
 smallMain_0_20 Math Eggs is a great game that lets kids practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division while helping a bright-eyed hen collect hatching eggs. Available as an app for iPod or iPhone. For ages 4-10.
 imgres-69 Try a game of Scrambled Egg Math. You’ll need a plastic egg carton, markers, and a couple of lima beans. Targeted at early-elementary kids, the game reinforces number recognition and sequencing skills.
 imgres-70 Fun with Buttons: Egg Math is a counting game in which kids pair numbers of buttons to big bright number-labeled foam eggs.
 imgres-71 Mancala may be the oldest game in the world. Egg Carton Mancala Game has instructions for making a mancala board from a plastic egg carton, with links to a You Tube video that teaches you how to play. A great fun way to encourage strategic thinking.
 imgres-72 Birds’ Eggs is a math project in which kids use a scatter graph to investigate the relationship between the length and width of birds’ eggs.
 imgres-73 From Chickscope, Egg Math has information and mathematical exercises involving egg shape (symmetry and cross-sections, ellipses and ovals), the white-yolk theorem, spherical geometry, and embryo calculus. For older students.
By Yutaka Nishiyama, The Mathematics of Egg Shape is an interesting illustrated essay for older students. (Did you know that eggs stop rolling on slopes? Check it out.)

POETIC EGGS

 imgres-74 By Russell Hoban’s creative little badger, Frances, Egg Thoughts are a collection of Frances’s poems on eggs. Frances’s “Soft-Boiled,” for example: “I do not like the way you slide/I do not like your soft inside/I do not like you many ways/And I could do for many days/Without a soft-boiled egg.” (From Russell Hoban’s Egg Thoughts and Other Frances Songs; Harper & Row, 1972.)
From Nursery Rhymes and Traditional Poems, this is a riddle-poem about (spoiler!) an egg. Pass it on to somebody else and don’t tell.
 imgres-76 Riddle Poems and How to Make Them has many examples of this very old tradition and helpful instructions for inventing some of your own.
 158B-Version-2 An Egg Poem – in which E is for Eating, not Egg – once appeared on late 19th-century cigarette cards. See images (and poem).
 imgres-75 Ezra Pound’s Poetic Eggs compared poetry writing to laying eggs.
 images-11 By Naomi Shihab Nye, see Boy and Egg, about finding fresh eggs in the chicken house.
 images-4 Featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac, Baron Wormser’s A Quiet Life begins “What a person desires in life/Is a properly boiled egg./This isn’t as easy as it seems.” (Find out why.)
Posted in Animals, Food/Cooking, Science | Leave a comment

Trees

 

Trees are wonderful, life-giving, magical, legendary, spooky, and just plain interesting. Think of the Ents from The Lord of the Ring, the dryads of Narnia, Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forest, Harry Potter’s Whomping Willow, and Bilbo Baggins’s Party Tree.

See below for the science of trees, tree stories, tree poems, tree art projects, mathematical trees, tree houses, and more.

CELEBRATE TREES!

 images National Arbor Day usually falls on the last Friday in April – but some states base Arbor Day on their best tree-planting times. See When is Arbor Day in your state?
 images Visit the Arbor Day Foundation website for affordable trees, an informational tree guide, resources for connecting kids with nature, forest replanting programs, a history of the holiday, and more.
 imgres In Kathryn Galbraith’s Arbor Day Square (Peachtree Publishers, 2010), a small Nebraska prairie town has houses and barns, a store, a church, and a school with desks for seventeen children – but no trees. The townspeople, among them Katie and her father, raise money to order 15 saplings from back East and plant them in the town square. Time passes and the trees grow bigger and taller; Katie grows up, marries, and has a little daughter – who helps her grandfather plant new trees. An appendix explains the origin of Arbor Day, first celebrated in Nebraska in 1872. For ages 4-8.
 images As of 2013, the United Nations declared March 21 to be the International Day of Forests. From the Huffington Post, see background information and a photo-illustrated list of 21 Reasons to Celebrate the Value of Trees.

TREE PLANTERS

 imgres-1 Jerry Palotta’s Who Will Plant a Tree? (Sleeping Bear Press, 2010) is a picture-book account of a lot of surprising tree-planters, among them squirrels, bears, geese, ants, and dolphins. For ages 3-8.
 imgres-2 In Mary Ann Rodman’s A Tree for Emmy (Peachtree Publishers, 2009), Emmy wants her own pink-flowered mimosa tree like the one that grows in her grandmother’s yard – and that Gramma claims is a lot like Emmy herself, “stubborn and strong and a little bit wild.” To her dismay, no garden store sells mimosa trees – but finally she finds the solution: a little sapling to transplant and nurture on her own. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-3 By Jeanette Winter, Wangari’s Trees of Peace (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008) is a picture-book biography of Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for her tree-planting program. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-4 By H. Joseph Hopkins, The Tree Lady (Beach Lane Books, 2013) is the picture-book story of tree-loving activist Kate Sessions, who grew up in California in the 1860s, went to college to study science, and finally moved to the desert town of San Diego, where she established a nursery and populated the town and surrounding area with trees. A great story about a little-known heroine for ages 5-8.
 imgres-5 Jean Giono’s The Man Who Planted Trees (Chelsea Green, 2007) is the story of Elzeard Bouffier who spent his life planting one hundred acorns a day – through both World Wars I and II – in a desolate stretch of southern France, eventually transforming the region into a green woodland. A hopeful account of one person making a great difference for ages 12 and up.
  Read The Man Who Planted Trees online.
 imgres-6 Project Plant It is elementary-school tree planting program. Included at the site are detailed lesson plans, a tree reading list, varied activities for kids, interactive games, and more. You can also request a free tree through the program, though these aren’t always available.

 ALL ABOUT TREES

 imgres-7 Christie Matheson’s Tap the Magic Tree (Greenwillow, 2013) is a fun interactive read in which kids are first told to tap a picture of a  bare brown tree and turn the page – and a green leaf appears. Readers tap, pat, rub, “blow a whooshing breeze,” shake, and close their eyes and count to ten and, as they do, the tree moves through the seasons, hosting a bird nest, sprouting flowers and ripening apples, until apples and leaves fall, and the bare tree is covered in snow. For ages 3-6.
 imgres-8 Janice May Urdry’s Caldecott-winning A Tree is Nice (HarperCollins, 1987) is a gentle picture-book account of all the wonderful things about trees – they fill up the sky, provide shade from the sun, houses for birds, and escape routes for cats. Kids can rake their leaves, climb them, swing from their branches, picnic at their feet. A charmer for ages 3-8.
 imgres-9 Joseph Anthony’s In a Nutshell (Dawn Publications, 1999) follows the life cycle of an oak tree, beginning with the fall of one plump little acorn, who lands on the forest floor and begins its struggle to get back to the sun. For ages 3-8.
 imgres-10 By Clyde Robert Bulla, A Tree Is a Plant (HarperCollins, 2001) in the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series is a simple introduction to trees (“the biggest plant that grows”) for ages 4-7.
 imgres-11 In Zoe Hall’s The Apple Pie Tree (Blue Sky Press, 1996) two little girls watch their backyard apple tree through the seasons of the year, from leafless winter to the buds and blossoms of spring when robins arrive to build a nest, to ripening fruit in summer – and finally, in fall, harvest and an apple pie. For ages 4-7.
 imgres-12 In Gail Gibbons’s The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree (Sandpiper, 1998), the apple tree is Arnold’s special secret place. He builds a snow fort around it and hangs strings of popcorn on its branches for the birds in winter; in spring, he builds a swing; in summer, a treehouse; and in the fall he rakes leaves and picks apples. Included is a recipe for apple pie and an explanation of cider-making. For ages 4-7.
 imgres-13 The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree is a color-illustrated multidisciplinary lesson plan for elementary-level kids. Activities include determining the number of seeds in an apple, sprouting apple seeds, making “Apple Tree I.D.” pictures and apple sun catchers, and playing apple games. Included are printable worksheets.
 imgres-13 For many more resources on apples – including pie apples, Newton’s apple, and Johnny Appleseed – see APPLES ALL YEAR ROUND.
 imgres-14 Carol Reed-Jones’s The Tree in the Ancient Forest (Dawn Publications, 1995) is a cumulative environmental rhyme in the style of “This is the House That Jack Built,” that draws in all plants, animals, and features of the ancient forest. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-15 Lois Ehlert’s Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1991) is the simple story of a sugar maple from seed to sapling to tree, illustrated with colorful collages that incorporate real maples leaves and seeds. Included are instructions for planting a tree and making bird treats. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-16 Gail Gibbon’s Tell Me, Tree is a brightly illustrated introduction to trees covering the parts of trees, types of trees, tree shapes, seeds, bark, and fruit, and uses of trees. Included are attractive labeled diagrams, lots of tree facts, and helpful suggestions for making a personal tree identification book. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-17 In Barbara Brenner’s One Small Place in a Tree (HarperCollins, 2004), the “small place” is a hole in a tree, first scratched out by a bear, then hollowed by timber beetles. As the hole grows larger, it hosts animal after animal – salamanders, white-footed mice, bluebirds, squirrels, and snakes. For ages 4-8, who will then want to go look for holes in trees.
 imgres-18 Pam Marshall’s From Tree to Paper (Lerner Classroom, 2013), one of the extensive Start to Finish series, describes the process of papermaking in simple large print, illustrated with color photographs. For ages 4-8.
Paper Making Science Project has detailed instructions for making your own recycled paper. (That is, you start with paper scraps, not a tree.)
Also see Make Recycled Paper from the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.
 imgres-19 Chiara Chevalier’s 48-page The Secret Life of Trees (Dorling Kindersley, 1999) is an informative read for beginners, illustrated with terrific color photographs and interesting facts in boxes. Did you know that when you look at a tree, you only see half of it? (The rest is underground.) For ages 5-7.
 imgres-20 Debbie Miller’s Are Trees Alive? (Walker Children’s Books, 2003) – inspired by a question asked by her young daughter – explains how trees are remarkably like people: they breathe, eat, and drink; the veins in their leaves are much like those in people’s hands; and their bark is the equivalent of skin. The book also takes readers on a tour of unusual trees around the world, among them the baobab, banyan, cocoa tree, weeping willow, paper birch, and sugar maple. For ages 5-8.
 imgres-21 Patricia Lauber’s Be a Friend to Trees (HarperCollins, 1994) in the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series explains why trees are important, providing food (fruit, nuts, chocolate), shelter, homes for animals, and – by way of photosynthesis – oxygen, which we all need to breathe. Associated activities include planting a tree and recycling paper. For ages 5-8.
 imgres-6 In Susan Coolidge’s The Stories Trees Tell (Banjo Dog Press, 2008), five animal pals (Bear, Raccoon, Possum, Snake, and Woodpecker) come up with imaginative explanations for why trees are the way they are. “Meet my friend Chestnut Tree. Look at how her trunk splits and grows sideways. What could have happened to her?” While the five friends come up with their own imaginative explanations, multiple margin notes and photographs tell the actual facts about trees. Included are 15 pages of creative tree-based activities. For ages 5-9.
 imgres-22 In Betsy Maestro’s Why Do Leaves Change Color? (HarperCollins, 1994) in the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series, readers learn about the many different shapes of leaves (How many can you find?) and the process of fall color change, starting with chlorophyll and a cross-sectional diagram of a leaf. Included are instructions for making leaf rubbings and a pressed leaf collection. For ages 5-9.
 imgres-23 Diane Burns’s Trees, Leaves, and Bark (Cooper Square Publishing, 1995) is one of the “Take Along Guides” for young naturalists. The book introduces kids to 16 different trees and suggests a handful of activities: make a pinecone “snackbar” for birds and a bark rubbing, for example. For ages 5-10.
 imgres-24 Barbara Bash’s Tree Tales series (Sierra Club Books for Children) includes Ancient Ones: The World of the Old-Growth Douglas Fir, Tree of Life: The World of the African Baobab, and In the Heart of the Village: The World of the Indian Banyan Tree. In each, a combination of evocative prose and gorgeous watercolor paintings combine to tell the story of the tree and its surroundings. Readers learn, for example, that the Douglas fir is one of the largest living things on earth, taller than a twenty-story building, and that some live to be a thousand years old. For ages 6-10.
 imgres-25 Gina Ingoglia’s The Tree Book for Kids and Their Grownups (Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 2013) first covers trees in general – why trees are important, why leaves change color, the process of photosynthesis – and then describes 33 different trees, each in a double-page spread. For each, readers learn about the tree’s anatomy and features, such as leaves, flowers, seeds, fruit, and bark, as well as assorted cool facts. (Ground-up horse chestnuts make great library paste.) For all ages.
 imgres-26 Nancy Ross Hugo’s 200+-page Seeing Trees (Timber Press, 2011) is a guide to viewing – that is, really looking at – trees, concentrating on ten common varieties. Lavishly illustrated with fascinating color photographs showing a wealth of unexpected close-up details. Intended for adults, but the pictures are so intriguing that the book can be enjoyed by all ages.
 images-1 From Cornell, Know Your Trees is a free downloadable tree identification key.
 images-2 From the New York Times, Olivia Judson’s Tree-mendous is a great essay on the meaning and importance of trees.
At Forestry Focus, learn about Sacred and Magical Trees.
 imgres-27 Find out How Trees Affect the Weather with clear explanations, colorful diagrams, and a tree image gallery. Also included are lists of related links and sources.
Gold in Trees May Hint at Buried Treasure. Really! Read all about it.
How do trees respond to drought? They call for help. Literally. From National Geographic, read about it here.
 images-2 Real Trees 4 Kids has a lot of information on trees and tree farming, categorized by grade level (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12). Readers learn about tree anatomy, life cycles, and classification.
 imgres-28 What’s in the Amazon rain forest? 400 billion trees belonging to 16,000 different species, according to a new estimate. Read about it here.
 imgres-29 The Oldest Trees on the Planet is an annotated photo gallery – among them the incredible 4765-year-old California Methuselah tree.
 images-2 From SciStarter, Citizen Science Does Grow on Trees has a short list of citizen science projects for tree fans of all ages. Also see the New York Botanical Garden’s citizen science program, Listening to the Trees.

TREE LESSON PLANS

 images-2 Talk About Trees is a collection of nine downloadable lesson plans (with printable worksheets) on such topics as the forest food web, photosynthesis, the water cycle, the carbon cycle, and forest natural disasters. Included are activities, games, and lists of additional resources. Targeted at elementary-level kids.
 images-2 From Penn State, Forestry/Natural Resources Lesson Plans is an extensive collection, variously for grades K-5. Titles include Forest Stewardship, The History of Maple Syrup, Seasons of Trees, Trees and Their Parts, Tree Growth, Trees to Paper, Leaf Identification, and Build a Forest.
 images-2 Lesson Plans for Forest-Minded Teachers has a long detailed list, variously for grades K-12.
 images-2 From the Society of American Foresters, Tool for Teachers has comprehensive lesson plans and science fair projects for elementary-, middle-, and high-school-level students.
 images-2 From Education World, Trees Sprout Classroom Lessons Throughout the Year is a collection of five detailed lessons about trees. How Does Your Tree Measure Up?, for example, is a math-based lesson for grades 3-12 in which kids calculate the height of a tree, the area of its leaf cover, the number of leaves on the tree, the average size of a leaf, and more.
 imgres-28 The Rain Forest Alliance Curriculum has detailed lesson plans for grades K-8 with many downloadable resources. Topics covered include rainforest trees and animals, coffee and chocolate, biodiversity, deforestation, and more.
 imgres-30 For elementary students, the Inside a Tree Lesson Plan explains the layers of a tree trunk and their functions and has an activity in which kids make “tree cookies” from play dough or clay.

FICTIONAL TREES

 imgres-31 By Dorothea Warren Fox, Miss Twiggley’s Tree (Purple House Press, 2002) – originally published in 1966 – is a perfect delight. Told in bouncy rhyme, it’s the story of the shy and unconventional Miss Twiggley who lives in a tree with her dog and some supportive bears. (“Funny Miss Twiggley/Lived in a tree/With a dog named Puss/And a color TV./She did what she liked and she liked what she did/But when company came/Miss Twiggley hid.”) When the town is flooded, however, Miss Twiggley (and bears) come to the rescue. For ages 3 and up (and up).
 imgres-32 In Leo Lionni’s The Alphabet Tree (Alfred A. Knopf, 1990), each letter has a favorite leaf on the alphabet tree – until a gale-force wind swoops in and blows them all over the place. The solution is cooperation, as the letters band together to form words. For ages 3-7.
  The Alphabet Tree has multidisciplinary extension activities to accompany the book, among them learning about seasons, creating story sequence cards, making a word tree poster, and studying tree growth and planting seeds.
  For more alphabet resources, see ABC: The Alphabet (and Beyond).
 imgres-33 In Oliver Jeffers’s Stuck (Philomel, 2011), when Floyd’s kite becomes stuck in a tree, he hurls things after it, which all become stuck in turn – shoes, the kitchen sink, a boat, a rhinoceros, a lighthouse, a whale. Hilarious for ages 3-7.
  Listen to Stuck read by Oliver Jeffers on YouTube.
  Teaching Ideas: Stuck has resources and activities to accompany the book, variously categorized under Literacy, Math, Science, Technology, Art, Geography, Physical Education, and Foreign Languages.
 imgres-34 In Julia Rawlinson’s Fletcher and the Falling Leaves (Greenwillow, 2008), Fletcher – an adorable little fox – is convinced that his favorite tree is sick: its leaves are turning brown. His mother assures him that this is normal in autumn, but frantic Fletcher isn’t convinced, and as the leaves inevitably fall, he does his best to stick them back on the tree. Finally, despite his best efforts, the last leaf falls – but when Fletcher next visits his tree, he finds it covered with glittering (with real sparkle) icicles that laugh happily when Fletcher asks the tree if it is all right. For ages 4-7.
 imgres-35 Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax (Random House, 1971) – which features the Lorax, who speaks for the trees – may be everyone’s all-time favorite environmental picture book. For ages 4-8.
  The 2012 movie version of The Lorax is rated PG. It’s not as good as the book.
 imgres-36 In Alan Zweibel’s Our Tree Named Steve (Puffin, 2007), Steve, the tree, is felled by lightning and the family recalls all that Steve has meant to them over the years, providing everything from a swing to a camp site to a hammock stand for fat Uncle Chester to a meeting place for young lovers. At the end, Steve’s wood becomes a playhouse. Love and loss, with gentle humor, for ages 4-8.
 imgres-37 Lynne Cherry’s The Great Kapok Tree (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2000) is the story of a man who has come to the rain forest to chop down the great kapok tree, but instead falls asleep at its foot. As he sleeps, animal after animal arrives to plead for the life of the tree – snakes, monkeys, birds, frogs, butterflies, and a jaguar all join in – and when the man awakes, now knowing the importance of the tree to so many creatures, he shoulders his ax and walks away. A beautiful and thought-provoking picture book for ages 4-8.
 imgres-38 In Patricia Polacco’s The Bee Tree (Puffin, 1998), Mary Ellen is tired of reading and wants to go outdoors – so her grandfather decides that it’s the perfect time to hunt for a bee tree. Soon they’ve gathered a crowd of people and animals following behind them, all out to find some honey. (There’s also a nice little moral at the end about the joys of reading.) For ages 4-8.
 imgres-39 Lori Mortensen’s In the Trees, Honey Bees! (Dawn Publications, 2009) is a simple rhyming account of the life of a wild bee colony living in a bee tree; fact boxes provide more information for older children. For ages 4-7.
 imgres-40 For many more resources on bees and honey, see THE BUZZ ON BEES.
 imgres-41 In Bill Peet’s Farewell to Shady Glade (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1981), a host of forest animals, led by a raccoon, are about to lose their home to land developers with bulldozers. They set out by train to find a new home. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-42 In Ted Kooser’s House Held Up by Trees (Candlewick, 2012), a man struggles to keep his yard free of tree seedlings, while his children play in the woods adjoining his property. Finally the children grow up, the man leaves the house, and the property is abandoned – at which point the trees take over and slowly, inexorably, surround the house, hold it together, and lift it off the ground. A story of the power of the wild for ages 4-9.
 imgres-43 Leo Buscaglia’s The Fall of Freddie the Leaf (Slack, Inc., 1982) is a gentle explanation of the nature of death, through the tale of Freddie, a leaf whose time has come to fall. For ages 4 and up.
 imgres-45 Jane Ray’s Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2005) is a beautifully illustrated version of the Christian creation story, featuring a famously forbidden tree. For ages 5-8.
 imgres-44 In Arthur Levine’s Pearl Moscowitz’s Last Stand (Houghton Mifflin, 2000), feisty Pearl goes into action when the city threatens to cut down the last lone gingko tree on her multicultural urban block. For ages 5-8.
 imgres-46 The star of Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree (Harper & Row, 2014) is a kind and generous tree who loves a little boy. At first, he plays with her leaves and climbs on her branches; then as he grows older, he demands more and more from the tree: her apples to bring him money; her branches to build a house; her trunk to build a boat. Finally, the man is old and the tree has nothing more to give him – except her stump, which provides a place to sit. There he sits, “and the tree was happy.” A discussion-promoter for ages 5 and up.
  See The Giving Tree on YouTube narrated by Shel Silverstein.
  From the Teaching Children Philosophy website, The Giving Tree page has a summary, background guidelines for philosophical discussion, and a list of questions for readers.
 imgres-47 In Roald Dahl’s The Minpins (Puffin, 2009), Little Billy – despite awful warnings from his mother – goes into the Forest of Sin where, living in the tops of the trees, he discovers the Minpins, an entire village of miniature people who scamper around in the branches wearing little green boots equipped with suction cups. They are terrified by a monster, the Red-Hot Smoke-Belching Gruncher, and when Billy manages to dispatch it, he ends up with a liberating reward (magical nightly rides on the back of a swan). For ages 5-9.
 images-3 By Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire, D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths (New York Review Children’s Collection, 2005) is a marvelously illustrated collection of tales of Norse gods, goddesses, and giants, including the story of Yggdrasil, the World Tree. For ages 5 and up.
 imgres-48 In Florence Parry Heide’s Treehorn’s Treasure (Pomegranate, 2011), Treehorn stashes his allowance in a hole in a tree and discovers that the tree is now sprouting dollar bills. His parents, however, refuse to believe him. Heide’s Treehorn stories are gems, starring the commonsensical Treehorn, who deals calmly with fantastic situations, and his oblivious parents. With great illustrations by Edward Gorey. For ages 7 and up.
 imgres-49 Linda Lowery’s The Chocolate Tree (Millbrook Press, 2009) is a retelling of a Mayan folktale about how the god Kukulkan brought the gift of chocolate to the people – in spite of the protests of the other gods, notably Kukulkan’s brother, Night Jaguar. For ages 7-10.
  For more on chocolate and the chocolate tree, see Robert Burleigh’s nonfiction Chocolate: Riches from the Rainforest (Harry N. Abrams, 2002). For ages 8-11.
  For many more resources on this topic, see CHOCOLATE. (It’s not just for Valentine’s Day.)
 imgres-50 The main character of Carolyn Sherwin Bailey’s Miss Hickory (Puffin, 1977), which won the Newbery Award in 1947, is a doll – a notably cross and cantankerous doll – whose body is made from an apple-wood twig and head from a hickory nut. Left behind when her owners move to Boston, Miss Hickory must fend for herself during the cold New Hampshire winter. She does so, with the help of assorted animals, and even eventually begins to amend her not-always-admirable ways. At the end, however – SPOILER – a squirrel eats Miss Hickory’s head, at which point she has an epiphany about the meaning of her life; her headless twig body then wanders off and is grafted onto an apple tree, where it begins to grow. Many people love this book; I have mixed feelings about it, having been horrified when I was eight by Miss Hickory’s sudden end. A discussion-promoter for ages 7-12.
 imgres-51 In Mildred D. Taylor’s Song of the Trees (Puffin, 2003), the Logan family of Mississippi – in a prequel to Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry – struggles with poverty, racism, the Depression, and the absence of Papa, who has gone to Louisiana to make money working for the railroad. Cassie, however, finds comfort from the great trees that surround their house, that seem to her to sing a special song (though others say it’s just the wind). Then Mr. Andersen, a local white businessman, tries to force Cassie’s Big Ma to sell the beloved trees for lumber. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-52 In T.A. Barron’s Tree Girl (Philomel, 2001), all nine-year-old Anna knows of her past is that crochety Master Mellwyn found her as a baby, lying in the roots of a willow tree. Now he warns her to stay away from the forest, which he claims is full of threatening tree ghouls – but Anna is drawn to the forest, believing it holds the secret of her mother. A short chapter fantasy for ages 8-12.
 imgres-53 In Kate Klise’s Regarding the Trees (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007), the principal of Geyser Creek Middle School wants to trim trees on the school property, and so enlists the help of Ms. Florence Waters (first encountered in Klise’s Regarding the Fountain). Many misunderstandings ensue. The story is told through a creative mix of letters, announcements, newspaper clippings, and the like, with a lot of intercalated info about real trees, family trees, and Italian. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-54 In S. Terrell French’s Operation Redwood (Amulet, 2011), 12-year-old Julian discovers by means of an intercepted email (calling his uncle a world-class jerk) that his uncle’s company plans to cut down a grove of old-growth California redwood trees. In company with new homeschooled friend Robin – who lives near the grove – Julian and friends embark on a campaign to save the trees. A great eco-adventure for ages 9-12.
 imgres-55 The star of Rumer Godden’s The Doll’s House (Puffin, 1976) is Tottie Plantagenet, a little wooden doll, who in times of trouble remembers the tree from which she was made, standing tall against the storm. (“A little of that tree is in me,” thought Tottie.) Tottie needs all her tree’s bravery and determination when she and her family run up against the elegant, but evil, Marchpane. For ages 9 and up.
 imgres-56 In Natalie Standiford’s The Secret Tree (Scholastic, 2014), ten-year-old Minty discovers the Secret Tree – a strange hollow tree filled with slips of paper holding people’s secrets. (“I put a curse on my enemy. And it’s working.”) Minty sets out to solve the mystery of the secrets, struggles to understand the strange goings-on around town (what about the weird inhabitant of the Witch House?), befriends a parentless boy named Raymond, and deals with the ups and downs of friends and family. A coming-of-age story for ages 9-12.
 imgres-57 In Jean Craighead George’s My Side of the Mountain (Puffin, 2004), young Sam Gribley – miserable in the crowded city – runs away to the Catskill Mountains where he sets up house in a hollow tree. He copes with difficulties and dangers, makes unexpected friends – including a young falcon and a lost-in-the-woods English professor (who calls Sam “Thoreau”). A wonderful story of adventure and independence for ages 9-12. (The first of a trilogy.)
 imgres-58 Toby Alone by Timothée de Fombelle (Candlewick Press, 2009) features a world of extremely small – no more than two millimeters tall – people who live in a vast oak known simply as the Tree. The tree is in political and social turmoil: thirteen-year-old Toby’s scientist parents have been captured and imprisoned, and he is alone and on the run. The root of the problem is politician/industrialist Joe Mitch, who is bent on exploiting the sap of the Tree for business purposes – a project that will inevitably kill it. Despite its minuscule characters, the book has more in common with 1984 than The Borrowers. This is a complex and sometimes violent story about the uses and abuses of power, and the consequences of environmental destruction. A thought-provoking read for ages 12 and up. The sequel – you’ll want it, since Toby Alone ends with a cliffhanger – is Toby and the Secrets of the Tree.
  For more resources on tiny (or at least little) people, see VERY LITTLE PEOPLE: BORROWERS, LILLIPUTIANS, AND TOM THUMB.
 imgres-59 Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (HarperPerennial, 2006) – originally published in 1943 – is the wonderful coming-of-age story of young Francie Nolan, growing up in the slums of turn-of-the-century New York City. A recurring metaphor is that of the Tree of Heaven – the ailanthus – a tree so tough and determined that it manages to sprout and thrive in the unwelcoming cement of city streets. For ages 12 and up.
 imgres-60 In Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Word for World is Forest (Tor Books, 2010), humans have taken over the tree-covered planet of Athshe, whose small furry green inhabitants pursue a peaceful lifestyle that involves a state of lucid dreaming – “dream-time” – and ritual singing. Enslaved by the invaders, the Athsheans finally revolt. There are analogies to the treatment of native Americans by the Europeans and to the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. A powerful book for teenagers and adults.
 imgres-61 There are similar themes in James Cameron’s 2009 film Avatar, in which humans are exploiting the planet Pandora for a rare mineral (unobtanium) and in the process are destroying the native inhabitants, the Na’vi, tall blue-skinned humanoids who live in harmony with nature and worship the Hometree. Rated PG-13.

 SPOOKY TREES

 imgres-62 By Bill Martin, Jr., and John Archambault, The Ghost-Eye Tree (Square Fish, 1988) is a story-poem about a little boy and his older sister, sent out at night to fetch a bucket of milk, which involves passing the the truly creepy Ghost-Eye tree (“feared by all/the great and small”). The little boy wears his special hat, which makes him feel safer, even though his sister tells him it makes him look stupid. An owl panics them; he loses the hat; and his sister bravely goes back to retrieve it. A wonderfully illustrated account of being scared of the dark by a very spooky tree. For ages 4-8.
For more spooky resources, see GHOSTS!
 imgres-63 Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree (Yearling, 1999) is the eerie tale of eight boys on Halloween night, headed for a haunted house – where they meet the skeletal Mr. Moundshroud and encounter the Halloween tree, hung with grinning jack-o-lanterns. The book traces the history of Halloween customs from the ancient Egyptians to the Mexican Day of the Dead. Eerie and wonderful for ages 9-12.
Madagascar’s Legendary Man-eating Tree is a hoax, dating to 1881. But it’s still an interesting story.

THROUGH HISTORY WITH TREES

 imgres-64 By author/musician Dana Lyons, The Tree (Illumination Arts, 2002) is told in the voice of an ancient Douglas fir: “For eight hundred years I have lived here/Through the wind, the fire, and the snow.” An inspiration for young environmentalists, illustrated with wonderful pictures of awesome trees. For ages 5-8.
 imgres-65 Karen Gray Ruelle’s The Tree (Holiday House, 2008) is a journey through time with the oldest elm tree in New York City, which sprouted 250 years ago on land that is now part of Madison Square Park. For ages 7-10.
 imgres-66 Holling C. Holling’s Tree in the Trail (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1990) – originally published in 1942 – is a 200+-year history of the Santa Fe Trail as experienced by a cottonwood tree, from the buffalo and Kansa Indians to the Spanish conquistadors, French trappers, and Conestoga wagon trains. Heavily illustrated with colorful paintings, sketches, maps, and diagrams. For ages 9-12.
 imgres-67 In Rudyard Kipling’s classic Puck of Pook’s Hill – available in many editions – Dan and Una are performing a version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream when Puck himself appears. Puck – who swears by the ancient English trees, oak and ash and thorn – magically conjures up people and stories from old English history for the children: Normans and Saxons, Roman soldiers and Picts, Vikings, explorers, and pirates, the signing of the Magna Carta. Included are wonderful poems, among them ”A Tree Song,” “A Smuggler’s Song,” and “The Bee-Boy’s Song.” For ages 9 and up.
  Read Puck of Pook’s Hill online here at Project Gutenberg.

 TREE POEMS

 imgres-68 Thom Wiley’s The Leaves on the Trees (Cartwheel Books, 2011) can be sung to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus” – “The leaves on the tree are falling down/falling down/falling down/Autumn is here!” For ages 3-5.
 imgres-69 By Kristine O’Connell George, Old Elm Speaks (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007) is an illustrated collection of short poems celebrating trees. “Oak’s Introduction,” for example, speaks directly to the reader: “I’ve been wondering/when you’d notice/me standing here. I’ve been waiting/watching you/grow taller. I have grown too/My branches/are strong. Step closer./Let’s see/how high/you can/climb.” For ages 4-9.
 imgres-70 Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s Forest Has a Song (Clarion Books, 2013) is a collection of 26 short poems about the forest and its inhabitants, from chickadees and frogs to moss and trees. Illustrated with lovely stylized watercolor paintings. For ages 5-9.
 imgres-71 Selected by Mary Ann Hoberman and Linda Winston, The Tree That Time Built (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2009) is an illustrated collection of over 100 poems about the natural world by such poets as Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Eve Merriam, and Ogden Nash. See the “Think Like a Tree” section for many poems about trees. For ages 7-12.
 imgres-72 See Joyce Kilmer’s Trees, which begins “I think that I shall never see/A poem lovely as a tree.”
 imgres-73 Pair it with Ogden Nash’s Song of the Open Road. You’ll see why.
 imgres-74 I’ve always loved Philip Larkin’s The Trees. (“Last year is dead, they seem to say/Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.”)

MATHEMATICAL TREES

 imgres-75 At the Math Playground, experiment with Factor Trees.
 trees1 From the American Mathematical Society, learn all about the many different kinds of mathematical trees at Trees: A Mathematical Tool for All Seasons. For older students.
 imgres-76 From Khan Academy’s (delightful) Doodling in Math with mathemusician Vi Hart, learn about Binary Trees.
 imgres-77 Counting Trees is an excellent math lesson on estimation based on a tree farm. Included are printable worksheets, data sheets, and questionnaires.

TREES AND ART

 imgres-78 Barbara Reid’s Picture a Tree (Albert Whitman & Company, 2013) points out that “There is more than one way to picture a tree” – as a “sun umbrella” or a high-rise apartment for birds and animals; as a baby, a teenager, or a grandfather; as a “wild good-bye party” as its brilliantly colored leaves blow away in the wind in fall. Wonderful creative illustrations modeled in Plasticine. For ages 4-7.
Creating Picture a Tree is a YouTube video showing how Reid’s Plasticine illustrations are put together.
 imgres-79 By Morteza E. Sohi, Look What I Did with a Leaf! (Walker Children’s Books, 1995) has great suggestions for making collage animals – butterflies, fish, peacocks, cows – with leaves. Included are instructions, a simple identification guide, and an account of the life cycle of a leaf. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-80 Thomas Locker and Candace Christiansen’s Sky Tree: Seeing Science Through Art (HarperCollins, 2001) traces a single tree through the seasons of the year, pairing Locker’s gorgeous oil paintings with a brief descriptive text. For ages 5-8.
 imgres-81 From Steve Spangler Science, find out How To Make a Newspaper Tree. You’ll need newspaper, scissors, tape, and a cardboard tube.
 imgres-82 See Kirigami: The Ancient Art of Paper Cutting for a lesson in how to make a stylized kirigami tree.
 tree2 From the Incredible @rt Department, Emily Carr Trees is an art project in which participants make watercolor paintings based on the tree landscapes of Canadian artist Emily Carr. The website has instructions, examples of tree pictures, and a Power Point presentation on Carr.
 tree1 For images of ten famous trees in art, see Relevant Trees in Art History.
Trees in Nature and Art is an interactive online lesson plan in which kids (in grades 5-8) explore the use of trees in the arts, learn about the science of forestry, collect leaves, create leaf-based art, and write tree poems.
On Pinterest, see this particularly gorgeous collection of Tree Art Lesson Ideas.
 AutumnTreeCollage9RS6k From Busy Bee, Tree Crafts for Kids include an Autumn Tree Collage, a flip-book-style seasonal Changing Tree, a Falling Leaves project (the leaves really fall), a Japanese Cherry Tree picture, Tie-Dyed Leaves, and more.
 palmtree-step4 From First Palette, Making Plants and Trees for a Diorama has step-by-step instructions for making great plants, flowers, and trees from paper, crepe paper, and craft foam.
 6a00d8341cc08553ef0133f0776978970b-800wi The Crafty Crow’s Trees! has an assortment of great tree crafts, including 3-D paper trees and a mod podged hand tree.
 Spring-Cherry-Tree-11 Tree Activities for Kids is a long list including science explorations, craft projects, paintings, and learning and book-related activities.
 imgres-83 From DLTK’s Crafts, Famous Art Work: Tree Themes has images of works by famous artists such as Vincent Van Gogh, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Gustav Klimt,  and coloring pages and art projects based on their trees.
 arborday1small Make Recycled Paper Trees.
 fall-tree-3-dimensional-project-fall-crafts-for-kids1-300x225 These Fall Tree Crafts for Kids include a Fingerprint Fall Tree, Marshmallow Stamped Apple Trees, and Button Branches.

TREE HOUSES

 imgres-84 Andrew Larsen’s In the Tree House (Kids Can Press, 2013) is a story of two brothers, a tree house, and growing up. Narrated by the younger boy, the book describes how the family moved to a new house with a very tall tree, made plans for a spectacular tree house, and finally built one – and there the kids had great times. Then the older brother stopped visiting the tree house, preferring to hang out with new friends – until one night there’s a power outage. Together again, the boys have one more happy night in the tree house. A sweet and nostalgic story for ages 5-8.
 imgres-85 In Doris Burn’s Andrew Henry’s Meadow (Philomel, 2012), originally published in 1965, Andrew Henry’s inventions wreak so much havoc at home that, feeling unwanted and unloved, he sets off in search of a place of his own. He finds a sequestered meadow where he builds himself a wonderful little house. Soon other kids show up and he builds houses for them too, all peculiarly suited to their hobbies – Alice, a bird-lover, for example, gets a fabulous tree house surrounded by birdbaths and feeders, with a balcony just for bird-watching. Eventually the kids’ parents miss them and come to find them – and finally Andrew Henry, now appreciated, is given his own basement workshop at home. For ages 5-9.
 imgres-86 In Gertrude Chandler Warner’s Tree House Mystery (Albert Whitman & Company, 1990), 14th in the Boxcar Children series, the four children acquire a tree house and a spyglass, and discover a mysterious secret room in the house next door. For ages 7-10.
 imgres-87 In Andy Griffiths’s The 13-Story Treehouse (Feiwel and Friends, 2013), Andy and Terry live in the world’s most spectacular tree house – 13 stories of it, complete with bowling alley, shark tank, theatre, secret underground laboratory, and marshmallow machine. Zany adventures, lots of humor, and cartoon illustrations. There’s a sequel: The 26-Story Treehouse. For ages 7-10.
 imgres-88 David Stiles’s How to Build Treehouses, Huts and Forts (Lyons Press, 2003) provides detailed instructions for building an exciting range of kid-friendly structures, among them a lookout tower and (got snow?) an igloo.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in History, Holidays, Literature, Plants, Science | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Penguins

 

Penguins! See below for penguin books, penguin math, penguin science, penguin crafts, and where to buy a genuine made-by-a-penguin painting.

FICTIONAL PENGUINS

 imgres In Salina Yoon’s Penguin and Pinecone (Walker Children’s Books, 2012), a little penguin in a fuzzy orange scarf finds a “curious object” in the snow. It’s a pinecone and the two form an unlikely friendship – though Penguin’s Grandpa explains that a pinecone can only thrive in a warmer forest “far, far away.” Finally Penguin takes his friend there and leaves him – only to return, years later, to find a tall pine tree with a fuzzy orange scarf tied around the top. For ages 3-7.
 imgres-1 In Antoinette Portis’s A Penguin Story (HarperCollins, 2008), Edna, a penguin – yearning for something other than white ice, black night, and blue sea – sets out in search of color. She finds it in an orange Antarctic research station – but that only makes her wonder what else might be out there. For dreamers ages 4-7.
 imgres-2 The title character of Helen Lester’s Tacky the Penguin (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1990) is a nonconformist penguin who sports a gaudy Hawaiian short and doesn’t fall in line with his elegant penguin compatriots, Goodly, Neatly, Perfect, Lovely, and Angel. However, the wildly unconventional Tacky proves his worth when a gang of hunters arrive. For ages 4-8.
  Tacky the Penguin is a Reader’s Theater play based on the book, with parts for five narrators, six penguins, and four hunters.
  The Tacky the Penguin Activity Kit has party ideas, Tacky-friendly recipes, printable puzzles and stick puppets, and a complete list of the Tacky the Penguin books.
 imgres-3 Janet Perlman’s Cinderella Penguin (Puffin, 1995) is a perfectly delightful retelling of the Cinderella story, complete with a charming penguin prince, a fairy godmother penguin, and a little glass flipper. For ages 4 and up.
  For many more versions of Cinderella, see FAIRY TALES.
 imgres-4 In Polly Dunbar’s Penguin (Candlewick, 2010), Penguin is Ben’s disappointing birthday present – nothing Ben does will make Penguin speak a word (or even giggle). He tries to amuse Penguin; he makes fun of Penguin; he ignores Penguin – but Penguin says nothing. Until, that is, a passing lion eats Ben, and Penguin comes to the rescue. You’ll love Dunbar’s deadpan Penguin illustrations. For ages 4-8.
  See Dunbar’s Penguin on YouTube. It’s a charmer.
 imgres-5 In Jean-Luc Fromental’s hilarious 365 Penguins (Harry N. Abrams, 2006), on New Year’s Day, a delivery man drops off a box containing a penguin – and an anonymous note that reads “I’m number 1. Feed me when I’m hungry.” There follow deliveries of penguin after penguin, one for each day of the year – with a lot of accompanying mathematical scramble to organize and care for the rapidly accumulating penguins.  (Pack them into a 216-penguin cube?) The puzzle is finally solved at the end of the year – it’s a plan of Uncle Victor, the ecologist, to secretly export endangered penguins to the North Pole. Off he goes with the birds and all is peaceful – until a delivery man rings the doorbell and drops off one polar bear. For ages 4-9.
 images In Toni Buzzeo’s One Cool Friend (Dial, 2012), very proper, bowtie-wearing Elliot falls for the elegant penguins at the zoo – and gets permission from his distracted father (he’s on a bench, reading National Geographic) to have a penguin of his own. Rather than a plush penguin from the gift shop, Elliot picks one from the penguin pool and pops it into his backpack. Elliot figures out how to raise his penguin in his room (with ice and frozen anchovy pizzas) and names him Magellan. It all looks like a perfect storm of misunderstandings between father and son – until, at the end, readers discover that Elliot’s father has been concealing a Galapagos tortoise named Captain Cook. For ages 5-8.
 imgres-6 By Richard and Florence Atwater, Mr. Popper’s Penguins (Little, Brown, 1992) – originally published in 1938 – is the story of a house painter who dreams of polar exploration, and who receives as a present from explorer Admiral Drake a penguin named Captain Cook. Eventually a mate is found for Captain Cook and soon the Poppers have an entire family of penguins – at which point Mr. Popper, strapped for cash, decides to turn the penguins into a circus act and take the show on the road. For ages 7-11.
  The 2011 movie version of Mr. Popper’s Penguins, with Jim Carrey as Mr. Popper, is rated PG. Only vaguely based on the book.

 NONFICTIONAL PENGUINS

 imgres-7 By Florence Minor – and illustrated with wonderful paintings by Wendell Minor – If You Were a Penguin (Katherine Tegen Books, 2008) is a delightful account of all the things you could do if only you were a penguin, from flying underwater to tobogganing in the snow to singing a duet. Included are lists of Penguin Fun Facts and informational penguin websites. For ages 4-7.
 imgres-8 In Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell’s And Tango Makes Three (Simon and Schuster, 2005) – based on a true story from New York City’s Central Park Zoo – a pair of male penguins share a nest. Given an egg to nurture by a sympathetic zookeeper, the two hatch a little daughter, Tango, who becomes the only penguin chick in the zoo to have “two daddies.” A sweet, though much-contested, story for ages 4-7.
 imgres-9 Jean Marzollo’s rhyming Pierre Penguin (Sleeping Bear Press, 2010) is based on the true story of an African penguin at the California Academy of Sciences who begins to lose his feathers, and soon is too cold to swim. A creative biologist comes up with a clever solution: a little penguin wetsuit. For ages 4-7.
 imgres-10 Betty Tatham’s Penguin Chick (HarperCollins, 2001) – in the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series – is a simple nonfiction account of the laying and hatching of a emperor penguin’s egg. Illustrated with watercolor paintings. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-11 Martin Jenkins’s The Emperor’s Egg (Candlewick, 2002) is the story of how the male emperor penguin – largest of all penguins – spends two months without food, standing with an egg on his feet. For ages 4-9.
 imgres-12 Anne Schreiber’s Penguins (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2009) covers, in 32 creatively designed pages, where penguins live, what they eat, and how they spend their lives. Included are maps, boxes of useful “Bird Words,” and a lot of great color photographs. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-13 For the same age group, also see Gail Gibbons’s Penguins! (Holiday House, 1999).
 imgres-14 Seymour Simon’s Penguins (HarperCollins, 2009) covers all the basics of penguins with an informational text, full-page color photographs, and lots of fascinating facts. For ages 6-10.
 imgres-16 By field biologist and penguin addict Wayne Lynch, Penguins! (Firefly Books, 1999) covers – in 64 pages – penguin families, locomotion, food, mating habits, and enemies. Illustrated with color photographs. For ages 9-12.
 imgres-15 Also by Wayne Lynch, Penguins of the World (Firefly Books, 2007) has more detailed information for teenagers and adults.
 imgres-17 Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears focuses on penguins who don’t live in Antarctica. Included at the website are project suggestions and a reading list.
 imgres-18 Check out Live Penguin Cams from the California Academy of Science.
 images-1 From LiveScience, Penguins has a collection of excellent articles (with photos and video clips) on many aspects of penguins.
 imgres-17 Penguin Sentinels is an informational article and video on temperate Galapagos penguins.

 MATHEMATICAL PENGUINS

 imgres-5 See 365 Penguins, above.
 images-2 From Mathwire, Penguin Math has a range of math games and activities. For example, learn coordinate graphing with a game of “Capture the Penguin” or measure the world in penguin feet. (Some broken links, but still worth a visit.)
 imgres-19 Math Ideas for Penguin Theme has printable game pieces and instructions, a penguin tangram puzzle, penguin graphing exercises, patterning and counting activities, and more.
 images-3 From HoodaMath, Penguin Jump is a multiplication game with multicolored penguins.
 penguins3 From Coolmath, Penguin Families is a logic game in which small penguins must be moved via ice floe from one shore to the other. Tricky.
 imgres-20 From Starship Maths, Place the Penguins is a number place game (ones, tens, and one hundreds) in which players drag penguins into place to make numbers.
 imgres-21 Peabody the Penguin is a multiplication game in which players help Peabody collect fish while avoiding sea lions.

ART, CRAFTS, AND PENGUINS

 mfingerprintpenguin From Artists Helping Children, Penguin Crafts is a long list, including gourd penguins, fingerprint penguins, penguin puppets, papier-mache penguins, and more.
From Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears, Polar Arts and Crafts has instructions for making polar salt-dough maps, paper snowflakes, 3-D penguins, and more.
 FI418Q8HAQ3DAVK.MEDIUM Make a Footprint Penguin.
 FK0MOFEHAQ3DARG.MEDIUM From Instructables, step-by-step instructions for making an Egg Carton Penguin.
 6a00d8341cc08553ef016760eda83e970b-800wi From the Crafty Crow, Penguin and Polar Bear Crafts include potato-print penguins, penguin bean bags, and toilet-paper-tube penguins.
 586x388xPenguin-Art-Project.jpg.pagespeed.ic.V6TWWPcdEE From Deep Space Sparkle, see these instructions for making wonderful Penguin Collages.
 imagepic-PArt-P3-8x10 Penguin Picassos? Check out Penguin Art from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Included: a penguin art gallery and (affordable) penguin paintings for sale.
Also see Penguin Art from the Mystic Aquarium (includes a video of a painting penguin).

POETIC PENGUINS

 imgres-22 By Judy Sierra, Antarctic Antics: A Book of Penguin Poems (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008) is a catchy illustrated collection (with real penguin facts) for ages 4-8.
 images-4 Penguin poems aren’t just for kids. See Magellanic Penguin by Pablo Neruda.
 imgres-23 From William Jay Smith’s Laughing Time: Collected Nonsense (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1953), see Penguin and Polar Bear. (“I think it must be very nice/To stroll about upon the ice/Night and day, day and night/Wearing only black and white…”)

PENGUINS IN THE MOVIES

 imgres-24 The 2006 movie Happy Feet stars a tap-dancing emperor penguin named Mumble. Rated PG.
 imgres-24 Happy Feet is a multidisciplinary educator’s guide to accompany the movie, with writing exercises, simple science experiments, recipes, crafts, printable puzzles, and a resource list.
 imgres-25 National Geographic’s March of the Penguins is a stunning documentary about the penguins’ annual quest to find mates and raise chicks. Available on DVD or as an Amazon Instant Video. See the website for accompanying games and activities.
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Paul Revere

 

Who doesn’t love Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Listen, my children, and you shall hear/Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere”? See below for books, projects, and cool information on Paul Revere – and on the American Revolution’s other riders. Paul wasn’t the only one…

 

BOOKS: NON-FICTION

 imgres David A. Adler’s A Picture Book of Paul Revere (Holiday House, 1997) is a simple picture-book introduction to Revere’s life for ages 5-8.
 imgres-1 Jonah Winters’s Paul Revere and the Bell Ringers (Simon Spotlight, 2003) in the Ready-to-Read series is a simple large-print account of how Paul Revere, as a boy in Boston, started a bell-ringing club. For ages 5-7.
 imgres-2 Lane Smith’s delightfully clever John, Paul, George, & Ben (Disney Hyperion, 2006) is the tongue-in-cheek picture-book story of John Hancock (“a bold lad”), Paul Revere (“a noisy lad”), George Washington (“an honest lad”), and Ben Franklin (“a clever lad”) – plus “Independent Tom” Jefferson. A helpful appendix is titled “Taking Liberties: Wherein we set the record straight with ye olde True or False section.” For ages 5-9.
 imgres-3 Dennis Brindell Fradin’s Let It Begin Here! (Walker Children’s Books, 2009) is the story of the Battle of Lexington and Concord, beginning with Paul Revere’s famous midnight ride. Included are an hour-by-hour timetable of the battle (“9:30 PM: Paul Revere learns the British army is marching…”), a list of Who’s Who on both sides, and a map. For ages 6-9.
 imgres-4 Augusta Stevenson’s Paul Revere: Boston Patriot (Aladdin, 1986) – one of the red-white-and-blue-covered Childhood of Famous Americans series – is a fictionalized account of Paul Revere’s childhood through his teen years when he began carrying secret messages for Boston’s pro-Revolution activists. For ages 7-9.
 imgres-5 By the wonderful Jean Fritz, And Then What Happened, Paul Revere? (Puffin, 1996) is a superb biography, fill with human interest and real people – in short, history as it ought to be told. For ages 7-10.
See a complete annotated list of Jean Fritz’s terrific history books here.
 imgres-6 Roberta Edwards’s 112-page Who Was Paul Revere? (Grosset & Dunlap, 2011) is a short chapter biography that begins with Paul’s first plunge into business – as a boy, he and three friends became paid bell-ringers for Boston’s Old North Church. For ages 7-10.
 imgres-7 By Esther Forbes, America’s Paul Revere (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1990), illustrated with vivid paintings, is an excellent 48-page account of Revere’s life and famous ride. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-8 James Cross Giblin’s The Many Rides of Paul Revere (Scholastic, 2007) is a well-researched biography, illustrated with period prints, paintings, maps and documents, and photos of artifacts. The book begins with Paul’s childhood – he was the son of a French immigrant, Apollos Rivoire – and continues through his multifaceted career as a silversmith and his involvement in the Revolution (during which he made not just one, but many, rides). For ages 8-12.
From Scholastic, The Many Rides of Paul Revere has discussion questions, activities, and printable handouts to accompany Giblin’s book.
  images-1 By Esther Forbes, Paul Revere and the World He Lived In (Mariner Books, 1999) is an engrossing account of the life and times of Paul Revere, packed with fascinating details. Originally published in 1942, when it won a Pulitzer Prize. Highly recommended for teenagers and adults.
 imgres-9 By historian David Hackett Fischer, Paul Revere’s Ride (Oxford University Press, 1995) is a truly fascinating account of pre-Revolutionary Boston and the events surrounding Revere’s famous ride. (Nobody yelled “The British are coming!”) For teenagers and adults.

BOOKS: FICTION

 imgres-10 Robert Lawson’s Mr. Revere and I (Little, Brown, 1988) is a delightful “Account of certain Episodes in the Career of Paul Revere, Esq., as revealed by his horse, Scheherazade (Sherry) – once the pride of the Queen’s Own Household Cavalry and a thorough-going Tory. Sherry is shipped to the American colonies (populated by bumpkins), where his owner loses him in a game of dice to the owner of a glue factory. From there, he’s rescued by Sam Adams and ends up carrying Paul Revere on his famous ride. A great read for ages 7-11.
 imgres-11 Esther Forbes’s Newbery winner Johnny Tremain (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011) – originally published in 1944 – is the story of a 14-year-old silversmith’s apprentice, maimed in an accident, who then becomes involved in the American Revolution, meeting such luminaries as Sam Adams, John Hancock, and Paul Revere. An exciting read for ages 9-12.
The 1957 Disney film version of Johnny Tremain is 80 minutes long and rated “Approved.”
 imgres-12 By master historical fiction writer Ann Rinaldi, The Secret of Sarah Revere (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2003) is the story of Paul Revere and times through the eyes of Revere’s 13-year-old daughter Sarah. A mix of the historical and the personal, as Sarah deals with growing up and worries that her father’s friend, Dr. Joseph Warren, has too much interest in her stepmother, Rachel. For ages 13 and up.

PAUL REVERE’S RIDE

 imgres-13 This version of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem Paul Revere’s Ride (Puffin, 1995) is illustrated with moonlit paintings by Ted Rand. (“Listen, my children and you shall hear/Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.”) All ages.
 imgres-14 Creatively illustrated by Caldecott Honor winner Christopher Bing, Longfellow’s The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere (Chronicle Books, 2001) combines the famous poem with historical context: included are reproductions of historical documents, letters, and maps, images of colonial artifacts, and drawings that look like period engravings. For ages 8 and up.
 imgres-15 From the Academy of American Poets, read Paul Revere’s Ride online. Or see the Poetry Foundation’s The Landlord’s Tale: Paul Revere’s Ride.

 PAUL WASN’T THE ONLY ONE

 imgres-16 Paul Revere wasn’t the only rider. Marsha Amstel’s Sybil Ludington’s Midnight Ride (First Avenue Editions, 2000) is the story of 16-year-old Sybil’s ride to warn the American troops of an attack by the British on Danbury, CT. For ages 7-9.
 imgres-17 Paul Revere’s fellow rider, William Dawes, disappeared from history. Learn about him at The Midnight Ride of William Dawes.
 imgres-18 Captain Jack Jouett – sometimes called Virginia’s Paul Revere – saved Thomas Jefferson from capture by the British. Learn about it at Colonial Williamsburg’s Captain Jack Jouett’s Ride of the Rescue.
 imgres-19 From Edsitement, Not Only Paul Revere: Other Riders of the American Revolution has information and activities about such less-famous riders as Sybil Ludington, Jack Jouett, and Tench Tilghman.

EVEN MORE…

 imgres-20 The website of the Paul Revere House has a virtual tour of the route Revere took on his famous ride, a Revere biography, and a gallery of Revere-made silver. Click on “For the Kids” for lists of activities, games, articles, and books for children.
The Historic Paul Revere has an illustrated timeline of Revere’s life from his birth in 1734 to his death in 1818 at the age of 83.
From the History Channel, see this great list of 12 Things You May Not Know About Paul Revere.
 imgres-21 From Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, John Singleton Copley’s portrait of Paul Revere shows Revere as an artisan, holding a silver teapot. Zoom features allow visitors to get a closer look at the picture.
 imgres-15 From YouTube, The Ride is a well-done 10-minute educational film on Paul Revere’s ride.
 imgres-15 From ReadWriteThink, April 18: Paul Revere’s Ride has suggested activities and informational websites. For example, kids study Revere’s family tree and make one of their own, and read an account of the ride in Revere’s own words.
 imgres-17 From National Geographic’s Xpeditions, One If By Land and Two If By Sea is a lesson plan in which kids investigate the geography of Longfellow’s “Paul Revere’s Ride.”
 imgres-22 From Edsitement, Why Do We Remember Revere? has information, activities, and downloadable handouts on Paul Revere’s ride and the Battle of Lexington and Concord. Also see Midnight Ride of Paul Revere: Fact, Fiction, and Artistic License (illustrated with the painting “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” by Grant Wood).
 imgres-23 Paul Revere, as well as for his ride, was famous for making bells. Also see Paul Revere and His Bells.

GAMES AND ACTIVITIES

 imgres-24 2 If By Sea Lanterns has instructions for making papercraft tissue-paper window lanterns to accompany books about Paul Revere’s ride.
 images-2 From eHow, Paul Revere Craft Ideas for Children has instructions for making tin-can lanterns, dip candles, quill pens, tricorn hats, and cork-and-toothpick horses. (No illustrations.)
 images-3 From the National Park Service, The Patriot Spy is an interactive game in which players navigate colonial Boston, dodging redcoats, and attempting to deliver a secret letter to Paul Revere.
 imgres-25 From Cognitive Kid, Ansel and Clair Ride With Paul Revere is an interactive app in which Ansel and Clair – robots – learn all about Paul Revere. Included are games, maps, music, quizzes, rebus puzzles, and a rendition of Longfellow’s “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.” $4.99.

 

 

 

 

 

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